Sunday, August 29, 2010

Charismatic Leaders

There is a theory that in times of economic distress, a charismatic leader is able to come forward and essentially maintain that your economic difficulties are a result of "those others" that are preventing you from moving forward. That is the message of Beck. He is able to couch his beliefs in religious language, all the while making people believe that their problems are a result of the "others."


Robert McCartney has a column in today's Washington Post that wasn't too bad, until we got to this point:

"However, I found little or no evidence of racial hatred in the interviews I conducted. Morever, the people heaped praise on King's legacy - or at least on part of it. They loved his call to judge people not by race, but by personal qualities. In contrast, they didn't want to talk about his support for social justice...'We are here to honor Martin Luther King's legacy. He believed it wasn't about skin color, that it's about the content of your character, honesty, integrity, hard work, care for your family..."

WTF. Saying MLK's legacy is not about race and social justice is like saying that the Holocaust had nothing to do with Jews.

Beck has managed to steal MLK's legacy for White people, who feel they are the victims of entitlements and perks for Blacks. The subtext of the quote above is that if skin color doesn't matter, than Whites would be doing better -- because they value character, honesty, integrity, hard work, care for the family, etc...Beck and those attending his White Fest have managed in one afternoon to completely twist MLK's words to justify their own racism, and perserve their own sense of privilege. He has managed to take a message of unity and use it to further promote division.
Of course, those in attendance would heap praise on MLK's legacy. Because through Beck, they managed to pick and choose portions of MLK's vision to support their own ends. Of course those in attendance would refer to part of a speech that said " judge people not by the color of their skin..." By choosing that small part of a larger speech, the implicit message of the day was that if organized, Whites can reclaim their position in society, and MLK would agree.

The New Mormon Billy Graham

There is both a comical element and an ominous one as well with Glenn Beck's new revivalist tea bagger schtick. It seems the glibertarian Beck persona has given way to a new baby jeevus one, mixed with politics and some kind of insidious spoofery of this country's civil rights struggle led by Martin Luther King circa some fifty years ago. Beck scheduled his wanker palooza for idiot xenophobes the same day King gave his famous "I have a dream" speech some 47 years ago on The Mall in DC, in front of the Lincoln Memorial, whilst he and his growing band of racist fools disparage at every chance, the first black president. If that irony is too much to stomach, this will turn it inside out.

"This guy's on secular radio and television," Land said Saturday, "but his shows sound like you're listening to the Trinity Broadcasting Network, only it's more orthodox and there's no appeal for money ... and today he sounded like Billy Graham."

That's right, the leader of the Southern Babtist Evangelicals just compared Glen Beck to Billy Graham.

On Friday night, Beck held a religion-focused event at the Kennedy Center that was billed as Glenn Beck's Divine Destiny.

Beyond creepy, because there are just too many idiots in this country that will glom onto this messianic nonsense, at least so long as a black man occupies the WH. It is surreal lie pile onto surreal lie that could well catch on in a country currently undergoing major economic transition and all the fear that brings to the table.

Beck's speeches around his "Restoring Honor" rally have brimmed with religious language: "God dropped a giant sandbag on his head" to push him to organize the rally, he said Friday.

I doubt God dropping anything but his jaw at this weird shit, and that sand was in that bag.

via CNN blog