Saturday’s big non-event on the Mall

Curious to see what it was all about, I attended Glenn Beck’s big rally Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial. And I’m glad I did.

First, because it gave me a good, close-up look at Tea Partiers: old, white and angry. From their T-shirts and their flags, it’s clear they all hate government. From their white hair, it’s also clear they’re all on Medicare and Social Security.

Second, because it gave me a good, close-up look at Glenn Beck. No doubt why he scheduled this rally on the Washington Mall: It’s the only place big enough to contain his ego. Barely.

Beck placed himself in a pantheon of heroes that includes George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr. — and — are you ready for this? — Moses! At which point, I fully expected him to part the waters of the Reflecting Pool and walk across.

Finally, I’m glad I went because at last I understand Glenn Beck’s message. “America is at a crossroads,” he declared Saturday. And now we must decide. Are we going to advance — or perish?” “I choose advance,” he crowed.

Well, sorry. But if my choice is to perish or advance under Glenn Beck, I’m one of those Americans who would rather perish.

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday” the morning after the rally, Beck pulled back from calling President Obama a “racist,” explaining he only meant to criticize Obama for being a believer in “liberation theology.” Thereby proving, once again, Beck just doesn’t get it.

Liberation theology — which reflects the teachings of Jesus to help free the poor from unjust social, political and economic conditions — is one of the strongest traditions of modern Christianity. It was also embraced and practiced by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the very man whose mantle Beck tried to steal on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.


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