Ever since the election of Barack Obama, conservative fanatics like Glenn Beck have been ranting to anyone who will listen that the time has come to “take America back.” The first question I, and many other Americans, had in response to that sentiment was “Take it back from whom?” Afterall, it’s difficult not to notice that nearly all of those leading this charge to “take it back” are of a relatively fair complexion, while the man whose election triggered their frenzy . . . isn’t. But now I think we’ve been asking the wrong question. Glenn doesn’t want to take America back from some one; he wants to take it back to some time.
He’s planning this rally in Washington D.C. for the end of the summer, see. It’ll be August 28, at the Lincoln Memorial. If that location sounds familiar to you, it’s because it’s the same place the March on Washington ended in 1963, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. And if the date also rings a bell, it’s because August 28 will be the anniversary of that same march, and speech.
“Just a coincidence,” you might think. “Glenn Beck is an idiot. He has no idea what happened there in 1963 or what it meant.”
Eh. You’re two-thirds right — Glenn is certainly an idiot, and has no concept of what the March on Washington meant to the civil rights movement or American history in general. But he definitely picked that date and location on purpose. Glenn knows just what he’s doing. He’s taking it back.
The civil rights movement, that is. Because apparently it was hysterical far-right conservatives, not the black church pushed by progressive liberals, who were responsible for the Civil Rights Act, the National Voting Rights Act and the other reforms that brought an end to institutionalized racism.
For some reason, leaders of actual civil rights organizations are offended by Glenn Beck’s attempt to co-opt their heritage, and are holding their own rally in D.C. on August 28. Working in their favor: Glenn Beck won’t be there. Also working in their favor: Nobody, to my knowledge, will be handing out imaginary badges of merit.