People converged on Washington this weekend with one thing in common: they want to help Glenn Beck restore honor or salute troops or whatever vaguely patriotic way he wants to spread fear and hate towards President Obama while hiding behind the flag.
As I mingled through the crowd -- I live right across the river from the Lincoln Memorial, where Beck's rally was held -- I discovered that the people there actually had a lot more in common. Just about every single person was white, old, middle class, somewhat overweight, extremely misinformed, and hyper-conservative. Actually, take back that first line. The entire gathering was homogeneous and in every way the GOP's target demographic.
More on the crowd and speeches after the jump
Scanning the crowd, it looked like a massive AARP convention where someone kept giving out extremely tacky American-flag and Glenn-Beck themed t-shirts. Slowly succumbing to heat stroke, Tea Partiers, hailing from red states where Martin Luther King Jr. spent his life fighting against injustice, sat in shade on their motorized wheelchairs, listening to the rambling and furious ravings of a college-drop-out alcoholic formerly-drug-addicted Mormon-convert turned radio-fear-monger. The indecipherability of Mr. Beck over the loud speakers and the sharpness of his delivery style made it sound like one massive German political rally, say in Nuremberg... circa 1933.
Generally, I found the Beckheads to be nothing short of crotchety-- freely cussing the DC residents trying to make their way around them as they glacially moved across every sidewalk and up every escalator. Closely to their chests, they clutched printed maps of DC highlighting dangerous areas to avoid, which only coincidentally was where the black people live. As for the content of the speeches, the whole thing seemed to be one humongous promotional event for Beck himself and all the brands of revisionist history and demagoguery he sells. I'm sure that Beck stands to profit handsomely from this event.
At one point Mr. Beck sought to dispel the notion that he was a fear-monger, likening his work to the iceberg watchman on the Titanic. Surely we wouldn't call that man a fear-monger! But we would if that guy said that icebergs would rain from the sky in the middle of a desert unless you voted liberals out of office. And that's the apt comparison.
So, good-bye Mr. Beck and thanks for shitting on Dr. King's legacy while clogging the Metro system.