Today, on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, Glenn Beck held a rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the site of that speech. He called for restoring “traditional American values:”
“Something beyond imagination is happening,” he said. “America today begins to turn back to God.”
Beck exhorted the crowd to “recognize your place to the creator. Realize that he is our king. He is the one who guides and directs our life and protects us.” He asked his audience to pray more. “I ask, not only if you would pray on your knees, but pray on your knees but with your door open for your children to see,” he said.
I do know the America he wants. The one that invades other countries on a made up pretext. The one that threw aside it’s own long-standing moral stature and ignored treaties it had signed to torture people. The one that turned a blind eye to banks ignoring long-standing protections for the economy, the one who gave free rein to companies to ignore health, safety, and environmental standards. The one that wallows in xenophobia and tramples on the rights of others simply for being the wrong color of skin or not belonging to the right church. The one whose international stature is low, and is hated or considered “untrustworthy.” The country that borrows millions for a war, and at the same time hands out tax breaks to the very wealthiest, and encouraging businesses to send industries to other countries. That’s the country he wants to “restore.”
It’s not the America I want. I want to restore – and we’ve been working on it for the past two years – the country that lives by its founding document. Not the misread, selectively quoted one Glenn touts, the actual document. The America that protects the rights of all people, not just the white Christian ones. The America that does not go to war on a made-up justification, that lied to its own people about that. The America that doesn’t torture people. The America that’s developing jobs here, that has rules and makes sure that businesses play by them. The one whose people realize yes, we do need to take care of the sick, the old, the disabled, and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to succeed.That’s the America I want. The one that is respected around the world. Glenn Beck doesn’t want that. He and his followers want their comfortable life of privilege, to remain on top, and to foment fear of the future.
47 years ago today, a much more powerful, much better speech that was given at that spot:
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers
It’s still not the reality – and Glenn Beck and his followers seem intent on fanning the flames of hatred and discord. The America they want is not the America I want. I want the one that Dr. King dreamed of.