Beware the wolf and its twisted call

The Fox News conservative commentator exhorted a sprawling crowd on the Mall on Saturday to restore the traditional American value of honor.
By Courtland Milloy
Monday, August 30, 2010

And it came to pass that a sign of the end times appeared as Glenn Beck in the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s clothing. And as he reveled in the rapture of his own twisted dreams, not everyone could see that he bore the mark of the wolf and was, in fact, the Anti-King.

"Something beyond imagination is happening; something that is beyond man is happening," the conservative TV talk show host told a massive crowd of hero worshipers who'd gathered Saturday on the Mall. "America today begins to turn back to God."

And he led them not back to God but to a rally that had to be the whitest ever held at the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of King's 1963 "I Have A Dream" speech.

"We don't want to transform America," said Sarah Palin, Beck's sidekick prophet of the day. "We just want to restore America."

Back to when? Before the "progressive movement" began to destroy the country 100 years ago, says Beck. Which would make the restore date somewhere around 1910 -- the nadir of the post-Reconstruction era. Don't forget to bring your lynching rope.

But first let's pause to honor some soldiers. Beck told the crowd that as recently as four months ago, he hadn't figured out how to do a "nonpolitical" rally that would appeal to masses. Then he did some research and learned that the military is the most honored institution in America. And, voila!

He'd throw a fundraiser for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. A worthy cause. And by wrapping his political agenda in the blood of fallen soldiers, skeptics would have to cut through the flag to get at him.

Having taken back the "hallowed ground" where King gave his speech 47 years ago to the day, Beck all but recast the civil rights leader's message as a thing of the past.

"This country has spent far too long thinking about the scars of the past and not the good things we have accomplished," he said.

When it comes to race, Beck's followers -- broadly characterized as middle-aged "tea partiers" -- have certainly had changes of heart worth noting. You're not likely to find any who'll admit to feeling that blacks are racially or intellectually inferior anymore.

They've always believed that laziness, more than racism, accounted for disparities in income, education and employment. But some black people feel the same way, too. You might have seen one or two onstage with Beck.

And yet far too many whites have taken their attitude shifts to mean that they have been rendered "colorblind" and now have a greater claim to King's legacy than blacks.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2010 The Washington Post Company