The meaning of Glenn Beck's rally on the National Mall

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

I have heard and read numerous comments about Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally last weekend that specifically noted "the whitest" crowd, as Courtland Milloy described it in his Aug. 30 Metro column, "The only thing being restored by Beck is prejudice." I was there, and true, there were very few African Americans, Hispanics or other minorities. But why was the crowd mostly white? Did Mr. Beck invite only whites? Were minorities discouraged from attending? Was anyone forced to attend? I believe the answer to those last two questions is "No." The people who attended were there because they see the country going down the wrong path. Mr. Beck's message was overwhelmingly religious in tone but also emphasized the need for each individual to be responsible for his or her own decisions and destiny. Only those who choose to do so will turn it into a racial or political message. There was no more of an attempt to hijack the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s memory by Glenn Beck than there was by the Rev. Al Sharpton. No one can hijack Dr. King's message. They may be able to build upon it, but the "I Have a Dream" speech belongs only to Martin Luther King Jr.

Doug Frank, Ashburn

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My father marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and was there when he made his famous speech 47 years ago. Watching Glenn Beck's rally from a distance on Saturday, I observed banners and signs declaring his intentions to fight "injustice" and take back "rights," and Mr. Beck's audacious claim to be following in Dr. King's footsteps. Dr. King and those who worked with him fought long and hard for people whose basic rights had long been denied on statewide levels and who had been discriminated against for years. On the Mall, I observed mostly middle-class Americans claiming that health-care and environmental initiatives would raise their taxes.

Do Mr. Beck and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin truly believe their grievances are on the same level as those of the civil rights movement? Mr. Beck clearly doesn't know the meaning of the word "injustice."

William Craig, Washington

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