I live in a majority African-American community. My kids go to a school that is majority nonwhite. Much of my public health and violence prevention work is in African-American communities. It saddens me that so many white people genuinely fear the political and economic
ascendance ascent of African-Americans, exemplified by President Obama. This is a strange, but genuinely human fear that African-Americans will seek to avenge the legacy of slavery, segregation, and discrimination. That’s just not what’s in people’s hearts or in their heads.
What is in Glenn Beck’s heart and in his head–that’s another matter. He is speaking today, the anniversary of Dr. King’s I have a Dream Speech, at the Lincoln Memorial, seeking to “take back” America from God knows what. Forty-seven years later, the largeness of Dr. King’s vision, its fidelity to the best of America, utterly overshadows Mr. Beck’s strange and pathethic spectacle.
David Broder has a beautiful column today, recounting his own experience in Washington on that 1963 day. He concludes:
What became apparent, as the masses moved slowly along the Reflecting Pool and gathered before the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, was that if this was a mob, it was the most benign mob in history.
Even before a word was spoken — let alone the eloquent words that have echoed down through history — it had become absolutely evident from the people themselves that achieving civil rights would be the way to heal, not damage, the country.
I went back to the Star wondering what it was we had been afraid of. And I’ve remembered this many times since, when people have tried to teach us to fear certain things, such as someone else’s marriage or place of worship.
Sometimes the voices of decent moderates speak especially powerfully, to say: Enough.
23 thoughts on “True that: David Broder on Glenn Beck”
His words are indeed eloquent and his perspective well-considered. I hard time, though, getting past the fact that the column is dated Sunday, August 29 and he is writing in the past tense about an event that has not yet occurred.
It's nice that Broder has discovered that Dr. King was pretty great 50 years later. It's a shame Broder won't be around in 50 years to give us the hot scoop that Glenn Beck is a dangerous, hypocritical nut who is perverting Dr. King's memory.
The headline here is "True that: David Broder on Glenn Beck". Here's the entirety of what Broder says about Glenn Beck:
Not out of protest. The most generous reading I can give this is that Broder finds Beck trivial. And that's all Broder says about Beck.
To his credit, Broder obliquely sneers at the mosque-haters in his final paragraph, but I disagree with what he says about Beck. Beck is not trivial, and he is worthy of protest.
Dear Politicafootball. In my view, Broder WAS protesting Beck, in his own understated way.
Nice post Harold. What is too often forgotten about the Rev. Dr. King is that he really was a patriot, he believed in America and wanted the promise of its ideals to be put into practice.
politicalfootball is right, HP is wrong. Broder has simply talked about crowd behavior, not about the message. So if Beck's followers are well-behaved, then they are OK, never mind the message. And all that liberal complaining about them was baseless, making the liberals fill the role of… guess who?
Beck Awards “Faith Medal” to Beck Show Guest Who Compared Beck to the Biblical King of Judah.
Beck Compares Self to Moses, Jesus, and others…but humbly:
Calling all toasters: "Broder has simply talked about crowd behavior, not about the message. So if Beck’s followers are well-behaved, then they are OK, never mind the message. And all that liberal complaining about them was baseless, making the liberals fill the role of… guess who?"
I believe you are missing the moral power and the strategic shrewdness in King's civility and the civility of King's followers. Seeking to diffuse white fears while debunking stereotypes of black inferiority, their dignified commitment to nonviolence–and their respectful but determined way of dealing with others–was quite powerful. That's what Broder witnessed and celebrated in his understated way. And that's what could not be a greater contast to the crude incivility of Glenn Beck and his followers.
"This is a strange, but genuinely human fear that African-Americans will seek to avenge the legacy of slavery, segregation, and discrimination."
The guilty flee where no one pursues.
HP: "..many white people genuinely fear the political and economic ascendance of African-Americans…."
Ascendancy? The USA isn't there yet and never will be: the ascendancy of the WASPS has gone like that of the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland. You mean ascent?
HP – We're reading different columns here, which is Broder's intent. He wants you and a Tea Partier to take something different away from his piece, but the words are there in black and white. Beyond Broder's statement that he isn't protesting Beck, what did Broder say about Beck?
I understand the piece that you read – the one where Broder compares Beck today to King 47 years ago, and finds Beck wanting. Read it again and you'll see that Broder was really, really careful to not write that piece – to the point of explicitly disclaiming any point about Beck in his first paragraph.
To elaborate on c.a. toasters' comment, if you're a Tea Partier, you already know that the Tea Partiers are the true keepers of Dr. King's flame. Few folks find as many occasions to say nice things about Dr. King as Glenn Beck does. Broder, like Beck, is fond of Dr. King. Broder isn't going to Beck's shindig because he's got business in Philly, and he's already attended a big rally on the Mall. "Been there, done that," Broder says to the Tea Partiers in his first paragraph. (Seriously. Read it again.) I mean, okay, that's a little dismissive, but it's hardly the treatment that Beck deserves.
Broder manages a nifty little dig at the nutjobs in his last four words – four words that you apparently found brilliant, because there's nothing else in the column to justify your praise. But as c.a. toasters points out, he's set a pretty low bar for behavior; one that the Tea Partiers expect to meet.
OK James, Ascent.
I wonder what Broder would make of the civic-mindedness, sincerity, and decency of a hundred thousand well-dressed, well-behaved people gathered on the Mall to express, in measured tones and lofty language, their conviction that Glenn Beck is a fraud.
Is Broder trying to compare or to contrast The Beckoning with the 1963 March on Washington? Is he hinting, in his last sentence, that he understands Beck's fans are precisely the ones who "fear certain things, such as someone else’s marriage or place of worship"? Or is he just showing off his own age?
"I wonder what Broder would make of the civic-mindedness, sincerity, and decency of a hundred thousand well-dressed, well-behaved people gathered on the Mall to express, in measured tones and lofty language, their conviction that Glenn Beck is a fraud."
Pull off such a rally, and let's see. Personally, I expect that if you could get together that many people in one place for that purpose, there'd be cars overturned and burning, not measured tones and lofty language.
Yeah, because n***ers, am I right, Brett? (nudge, nudge)
Nah, it's just an extrapolation from IMF protests. You just don't see that many burning cars at conservative protests, (I've seen ones where the lawn was cleaner after the participants left, than when they arrived.) but they're hardly unheard of at large liberal protests.
It doubtless annoys you, but it really is true: The left is more violent in large gatherings than the right. At least at this point in history.
Your first two "examples" are the same, and about protests in Geneva. That's in Switzerland.
Your fourth "example" is about protests in Copenhagen. That's in Denmark.
If violent protests in foreign countries are fair game, can we cite violent RIGHT-wing protests in foreign countries as "counter-examples"?
Your third "example" is from 2002, in Washington DC. You often talk as if DC is a foreign country, but we don't take you seriously, so let's admit that one into evidence: a violent protest against "the IMF and the World Bank" on the occasion of a meeting of the G-7 finance ministers. So, it's "the Left" who violently opposes the IMF and the World Bank. Can I infer that the Right (or even just Glenn Beck) SUPPORTS the IMF and the World Bank?
I am baffled by your comments. In the first place, Troskyist anti-globalization people trashing IMF meetings don't represent liberals or the great majority of progressive people. They represent…virtually nobody. In 2008, a Senator named Barack Obama held a few large campaign rallies and celebrations. To my knowledge, buildings weren't trashed. In the Chicago celebration at Grant Park, no cars were overturned. No conservatives were pulled from vehicles by "Mathooligans" (apologies to Eric Zorn) and humiliated with hard word problems, either.
Wow, you really are an insane idiot, Brett. I mean, you are bugfuck crazy. Tony P. and Harold Polack already drank your milkshake on this one, but I'll also point out that I didn't see too many burning cars at the Obama inauguration.
I wish I could find the post which debunked the "Conservatives are so clean at their protests!" back-patting garbage, but I'm too lazy to look for it right now. But before you go breathlessly posting the Gateway Pundit or Breitbart stories from today about yesterday's event vs. the Obama inauguration, I'll point out that a) there were fewer people at yesterday's event by perhaps an order of magnitude or more, and b) people yesterday were specifically asked not to bring signs or banners.
You just don’t see that many burning cars at conservative protests
No, you usually see calls for violence and minorities being hanged in effigy. Or, you know, <a href="http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&ct2=us%2F0_0_s_0_1_aa&usg=AFQjCNGcfVX3GOPT7Bbl8vvCxQhAoyBbDA&sig2=8FwJBWcaRFc8hbEGiofCkg&cid=8797584292853&ei=cuZ6TKmtMt_xlAfqkIXYAg&rt=SEARCH&vm=STANDARD&url=http%3A%2F%2 Fwww.usatoday.com%2Fnews%2Freligion%2F2010-08-29-arson28_ST_N.htm” target=”_blank”>burning down mosques
The left is more violent in large gatherings than the right. At least at this point in history.
No, it really isn't, but enjoy your sojourn on Planet Moron.
I like the word "bugfuck," which I'd never seen before your comment. But, according to the hits I got when I googled it, it means "crazy." Therefore, "bugfuck crazy" is apparently redundant.
Hey guys. My daughters read this blog. So let's stay pg13.
You like Dave Broder are part and parcel of the liberal, societal parasite class…
You contribute nothing and leech off the producers…
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