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Brief Thoughts on Beck

September 2nd, 2010 by admin

An article by Steve Benen on Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” speech was posted by a friend on Facebook and it generated a lot of comments from both sides of the argument.  It allowed me to codify my own thoughts on the situation.  As follows:

My understanding of the course of events, through brief research and casual following of the story over the past several months, is that the Beck camp picked the date as nothing more than a free Saturday at the end of August. Once people with an ear for the historic date caught wind of it, the controversy began. Beck, being the provocateur that he is, saw an opportunity to make a much bigger splash than he first anticipated. He would never back down from a chance to make headlines like this; perhaps, at this point, he can’t. His base would likely perceive it as weakness and his own special brand of credibility would be tarnished. Saturday’s claims to the Civil Rights mantle hold about as much sincerity and staying power as a lone firecracker. That is, so long as they’re not indulged.

I don’t agree with Glenn Beck. The majority of people don’t. I particularly don’t agree with turning news and politics into infotainment, be it Fox News or MSNBC. But perhaps what makes me despair most acutely are articles like these because of the wasted potential. Benen clearly has enough historical perspective on the situation to use this as a teaching moment. Instead, he uses a tone spiced with words and phrases like “zealots,” “minions” and “hate-filled demagoguery.” But these aren’t Lucifer’s imps pushing you into the pit or cartoon anarchists twirling their mustaches. They’re your neighbors, uncles and the kids they drag with them. They help you shovel your driveway and live for football season to start. I fully understand the time for lamenting and venting, but I can’t get behind furthering the narrative of us vs. them, even as well-mannered as this article is. It only fuels the Beck fear machine and pushes us ever so closer to the cultural tipping point Beck’s most faithful romanticize but fail to think through.

We’re still at a point in this madness where we don’t yet have to sing “Which Side Are You On?” My vote’s for diffusion over combustion.

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