Monday, August 30, 2010

GLEN BECK & MARTIN LUTHER KING AND THE MINDLESS MENANCE OF VIOLENCE

What can I say about Glen Beck that has not graced the pages of mainstream media? Huuuummm, I thought to myself, what could I add to that gumbo? Well, nothing - constructive - really. Then again, maybe I can talk about defining moments. Yes sir, that's the path I'll take.

Well, on Saturday, August 28 2010, after watching a few clips of Glen Beck's radio show -- gone wild -- on a platform in Washington D.C., I have come to a few conclusions. That must have been a defining moment for him and his party goers.

Well, after his stumble bumble poor excuse of a speech, he has to know he's not a speaker. I always thought a speech should include an imaginative lead that captures the listener's attention while creating a sense of immediate involvement. Without such, I can't help but believe an audience could be left waiting for the big bang theory. In the case of Glen Beck's -- float-float on -- allusion of a speech, it was not only absent of a professional opening, it lacked a body shaped by subject nor purpose. Obviously, there was no conclusion because there was nothing to resolve.

Glen Beck is not a speaker. He's a commercial break. You know, that boisterous sales pitch that intrudes our listening pleasure. Unfortunately though, some people love commercials. They remember the jiggles and they sing along. I never liked commercials except when I was a child watching Saturday morning cartoons. I loved to watch and wish upon a star that I might one day have all the fantastic toys and sugar glazed cereals that flashed across my television screen, instead of the oatmeal, toast and scrambled eggs, my mother presented to me. Looking back, I now understand what she meant when she said I would thank her later. Aside from her obvious message of proper nourishment, she said, "commercials don't mean anybody no good". Maybe that's why I don't listen to Glen Beck or those that mimic his sound bites. Well, at the very least, I listen with a very discerning ear.

In short, I think Mr Beck made the crucial mistake of telling his listeners to leave their violence inducing signs at home. Without such, those visual images of hatred and nonsense left his listeners with nothing to focus on. They had the look of lost sheep. For him and his followers, that day in the sun had to be moments to remember.

But it's over now, yet I wonder how we ever got there.

This is a time of shame and sorrow. It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity, my only event of today, to speak briefly to you about the mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.

It is not the concern of any one race. The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one - no matter where he lives or what he does - can be certain who next will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on and on in this country of ours.

Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by an assassin's bullet.

No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason.

Whenever any American's life is taken by another American unnecessarily - whether it is done in the name of the law or in defiance of the law, by one man or by a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence - whenever we tear at the fabric of our lives which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, whenever we do this then the whole nation is degraded.

"Among free men," said Abraham Lincoln, "there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs."

Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far-off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire whatever weapons and ammunition they desire.


Too often we honor swagger and bluster and the wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of other human beings. Some Americans who preach non-violence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them.


Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our souls.

For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.

This is the breaking of a man's spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man among other men. And this too afflicts us all.

I have not come here to propose a set of specific remedies nor is there a single set. For a broad and adequate outline we know what must be done. For when you teach a man to hate and to fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies that he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your home or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies, to be met not with cooperation but with conquest; to be subjugated and to be mastered.

We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens. Alien men with whom we share a city, but not a community; men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in a common effort. We learn to share only a common fear, only a common desire to retreat from each other, only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this, there are no final answers.

Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question is not what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of humane purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.

We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of others. We must admit in ourselves that our own children's future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge.

Our lives on this planet are too short. The work to be done is too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in this land of ours. Of course we cannot banish it with a program, nor with a resolution.

But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment that they can.

Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goals, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at the least, to look around at those of us of our fellow man, and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our hearts brothers and countrymen once again. - Robert F Kennedy, April 5, 1968, the day after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.


7 comments:

Big Mark 243 said...

I think that the bar for social leadership has been significantly lowered and will drop even further now that corporations can make donations to politcal campaign and causes. They will recruit and use people like Glen Beck and Sarah Palin, who are driven mainly by and agenda based on greed and power.

It is a wonder that they have been able to reach anyone, given that they are both limited intellectually and the holes in any policy they would represent they cannot explain away. The foment the anger in many people who are looking for someone to blame besides themselves for their individual problems... including Beck & Palin.

I think they are frustrated little people who are riding along a wave of other upset small minded people. Rather than be responsible for themselves, they would like to blame their problems on someone else.

It was a mistake by Beck to try to hijack the King speech. It revealed him even more to be a joke, but I don't know if enough people realize that it isn't funny anymore.

uglyblackjohn said...

Beck's ideology is taken from his Mormon upbringing and the writings of extremist Mormon speaker and author Cleon Skousen ("The 5,000 Year Leap")

Mizrepresent said...

Great post and great reminder Carey!

jjbrock said...

Hey Carey one thing that struck me was how many white conservatives seemed to be getting their entire understanding of Dr. King from Glenn Beck.

The color-blind society that was Dr. King’s ultimate goal, but how they ignore the steps that he thought in order to bring it about.

The right wing conservatives are doing with Dr. King what they so frequently do with the Bible they are picking out what they want.

CareyCarey said...

Glen Beck is just the name of a guy I used to move a message.

The bar for social leadership has been lowered. Beck is an extremist. We need a reminder, and people pick and poke at what they want to suit their purpose, just like they do the Bible.

Yes Yes Yes Yes.

If I had you guys on my team, we could work out a few things :-)

And, don't get me started on how some people read things from the Bible that are just not there.

And looking back for a reminder is the best medicine. Sometimes we forget how we got where we are. Sometimes that's a reminder of how good we DO have it. Not to mention the struggles and the roads less traveled.

I think if anyone got something from this post it was the message of what violence and hatred has done to the core of man.

Robert Kennedy's speech hit me very hard. He said violence comes in many forms. He's speech totally blew me away. And unfortunately he died by violence a few months after that speech.

48 years later, nothing has really changed. It's worse.

Freeman said...

Hey who said BS doesn't take you anywhere? It took him to the feet of Lincoln.

Sometimes people are mad and they don't know why. He is the personification of those people. When you said they were lost it's because after traveling to get riled up everyone was tired and all that anger over nothing couldn't sustain them.

The power of TV is amazing.

CareyCarey said...

"after traveling to get riled up everyone was tired and all that anger over nothing couldn't sustain them.

The power of TV is amazing"

There it is Freeman. That was the core of my opening. Take away the signs and there was nothing left.

I really hate using Glen Beck to move a message(he's nothing). There's no resolve in pointing a finger directly at him. However, in this case, I tried to use him to show a correlation to what he represents. To me, he's the personification of a torment cancer that has gained a new hold.