This was the big weekend for Glenn Beck, and allegedly, America. He went from the Kennedy Center Friday night to the Lincoln Memorial Saturday, on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream Speech." That's three murdered progressive heroes in two days. Is there a name for that sort of psychosis?
I watched over three hours of Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally this morning. I watched it very closely. I didn't leave the room even once. But I'm afraid I may have missed something.
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For months prior to the event Beck promised that it would be a turning point for America; that it would be an awakening; that miracles would happen. Well, unless a leper was healed in the reflecting pool off-camera, I must have missed the miracle. In fact, all I saw was a live, extended episode of the 700 Club with Glenn Beck as the guest host.
If I had spent several hundred dollars on transportation and lodging to hear an alcoholic, drug abusing, former morning zoo radio shock jock, tell me that I should heed the word of the Lord, I would feel somewhat disappointed right about now. Especially if I was expecting some premium Obama bashing and anti-government blather.
For the most part, Beck kept his promise to avoid politics. While there were a few indirect aspersions to political issues, the bulk of the presentation focused overwhelmingly on Christian fundamentalism. It was an old-school revival meeting without a lick of originality wherein Beck announced that America is "turning back to God." And although he promoted the event as one that would unite all faiths, there wasn't a single representative from Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, or any other non-Christian sect (not to mention Atheism). The only Jewish participant was a rabbi (and former associate of convicted felon, Jack Abramoff), who was introduced on stage but did not address the crowd.
Also on stage were numerous African Americans, mostly members of gospel choirs. I would venture to say that there were more African Americans on stage than amongst the tens of thousands in the audience.
The sermon Beck delivered was notable in that he defined 9/11 as "a wake up call" from God. That may come as a surprise to those who assumed terrorists from Al Qaeda were responsible. He also stressed that "America is at a crossroads" and that "we must advance or perish." Beck courageously declared that he would choose to advance. I guess that should silence all those radicals who think we ought to perish instead. However, I wonder if advancing might not be a little too suggestive of the progressive course that Beck so feverishly abhors.
One of the most frequently expressed themes articulated by Beck was that we have been spending way too much time on what's wrong with America and that it is now time "to concentrate on the good things in America, the things that we have accomplished - and the things that we can do tomorrow. That would be refreshing if Beck were able to sustain it for more than a heartbeat.
Ninety-five percent of show his about what's wrong with America. He hates the government. He hates the people. He hates the Democrats. He hates the Republicans. He hates health care and the environment and unions and churches and Social Security. To Beck we are a crumbling empire awash in debt, ruled by Marxists and estranged from God. And this guy is lecturing the rest of us about concentrating on the good things? A few days ago he expressed his thoughts on the future in a more foreboding tone that is common on his radio and TV programs:
"I'm begging you to get down on your knees. What is coming is not good. I don't know how things end. I should rephrase that. I do know how things end. But I know how things end after a long struggle. I don't know how that struggle is going to work out. I don't know how much time each of us has. I don't know how much time the country has."
How does he expect his flock to concentrate on the good while he is advising them to liquidate their assets and hoard gold and guns? It will be interesting to see if Beck's new-found evangelistic optimism can be maintained for even the next week of his broadcasts, or if his familiar doomsday fear mongering will continue to dominate his message. Either way, I'm still waiting for evidence of his Miracle on the Mall. And for the record, my honor never needed restoration in the first place.