Above: Sara Haile-Mariam and Tara Kutz go to “Beckapalooza” asking the question “Where the Black People At?” From Campus Progress:

For an event aimed at reclaiming the civil rights movement, the crowd was pretty homogenous. There may have been a lot of red, white, and blue — but there wasn’t a ton of black in attendance.

Armed with a camera and a t-shirt that read “America Deserves Better” (circa 2008), we asked rally attendees what they thought the Tea Party could do to inspire more black people to join their cause.

Glenn Beck with the help of FoxNews did a good job of herding hundreds of thousands of terrified, confused and completely ignorant white folks onto the National Mall. Many of these people sincerely suspect that President Obama is a Muslim communist illegal immigrant who wants to take all their hard-earned white money and give it to some lazy, shiftless and/or criminal black and brown people — if you believe recent polling such as this and this and this.

I mean, look, if I thought that the POTUS was a communist and an non-citizen, heck I might be a little concerned too. Yet, despite ample, extensive, hard-to-ignore and really just plain hard evidence that Barack Obama is 1) Christian 2) so capitalist he helped bail out Wall Street while leaving ripped-off middle class American homeowners at the mercy of a “free market” and delivering not much in the way of accountability for the Wall Streeters who caused the housing mess in the first place and 3) very much an American citizen, born and bred, with the paper to prove it  — Beck’s white people felt the need to emulate the historic 1964 March on Washington to make their voices heard.

Beck sought to invoke the moral imperative of King’s historic March which strove t to overturn racial injustice. Back then, it was really, really obvious what racial injustice meant — systematic and legalized Jim Crow discrimination. “Separate but equal”.

Today, it’s not clear exactly what’s bothering Glenn Beck’s white people. The thrust of the so-called “Restoring Honor” march changed its focus a number of times, finally settling on a vague and inoffensive prayer-centric gathering. Who can be against prayer? Honor? Integrity? Certainly no Republican candidates or establishment institutions could be threatened by that. No moderate independent voters could possibly shudder at that, could they?

Beck’s organizers prohibited people from bringing signs to the rally precisely because they know that most Americans are troubled by what he and his mouth-breathing, misspelling & bigoted followers actually think. Better to restrict the self-expression of his throng to flag-draping, eagle theme t-shirts and patriotic hat-wearing. Sure, dress up as Ben Franklin — who could be freaked out by that?

No, much better to seek the lowest common denominator of American society – prayer & basic morality – so as to make the “movement” more legitimate & safe for American mass consumption. Frankly we can all agree that values could stand some strengthening in America. There’s no debate there really. That’s what Obama’s Hope and Change is all about, right?

So what is it that Beck’s marchers really want? The asks from the 1964 March were pretty clear: Jobs and Freedom, yet I’m left with the uncomfortable sensation of being unclear what these new people are actually after. What exactly was supposed to be the takeaway from this march other than the mighty power and reach of Glenn Beck — stand and tremble, ye mortals!

From watching Beck’s show regularly, I think they want some kind of return to the America of the Founders — which happened to be a time when America was mostly an agrarian society on the move (i.e. widespread poverty plagued with pirates on the high seas plus legalized indentured servitude – slavery for white people), women couldn’t vote nor hold elected office (i.e. completely dependent on their husbands’ will – slavery for white women) and slavery was legal (i.e. black and Indian slaves could more or less be beaten, raped, murdered or worked to death with impunity). Ah…such a simple, glorious, value-packed bygone era. Why can’t we bring it back?

Beck said that he wanted to “reclaim the civil rights movement”. Here are some specific quotes (thanks Media Matters!):

“We are on the right side of history. We are on the side of individual freedoms and liberties and damn it, we will reclaim the civil rights moment. We will take that movement because we were the people that did it in the first place.”

“His dream has been so corrupted.”

I kinda want to write a whole separate blog post deconstructing the faulty logic here. What I will note that Beck was born into a post-segregation America where kids learn in school to revere the work of Dr. Martin Luther King. And he’s a little confused — at best — about how he feels about MLK. What Beck does not understand (or is purposely ignoring) is that there is a direct line tying the people who called MLK (and still do) a communist by association and Beck’s daily attempts to portray another successful leader who happens to be black, Barack Obama, as a communist by association.

Mmm yeah — MLK’s dream has been corrupted all right but not by African-Americans nor progressives. King’s dream of racial equality is now coming to fruition and it appears that some people are maybe a touch uncomfortable with that. They want to roll America back to a time when child labor was legal. What do Beck’s hordes of angry, frightened and mis-informed white people want that other Americans, including most minorities don’t seem to want?

Part of Beck’s mission of “reclaiming the civil rights movement” was to re-affirm that Tea Partiers and their ilk share the same values as the rest of America. Yet I assert that is not the case. Sarah Palin told Dr. Laura recently over her use of the word “nigger” on her show: “Don’t retreat, reload”. Palin cannot underestimate the chilling impact these words have on the black community, a community once plagued by domestic terrorism in the form of the KKK and lynchings. It was so bad even Black Republicans dumped her (finally).

So who’s distorting King’s legacy again? Look, Beck needs to step back and stop re-appropriating the civil rights movement for his dark aims which is an America where white is alright, brown betta get outta town and black gets to sit in the back. Calling Obama a socialist and communist while telling us that somehow civil rights has gone astray — this is Orwellian double-talk for “why are niggers running my country?”

Don’t be fooled. Beck’s March of White People on Washington aka “Restoring Segregation” is an undercover Klan rally but instead of hoods, they wear flags. I’m ok with it though. You and I here at JJP have flushed them out for the hate-mongering, fear-triggered racists that they are and within Beck’s apparent victory lies the seeds of defeat — his real discomfort, mission and goals have been driven so far underground and are so opaque due to their unpopularity and injustice that soon, we won’t have to worry much about what Beck’s white people have to say about anything at all…

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