Glenn Beck: Patriot or Pinhead?

On Aug. 28, the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. was the sight of a rally organized by radio/TV personality and political pundit Glenn Beck.

The Fox News and talk show host said that it's time to "restore honor" to our nation. The date of the rally also happened to be the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech on racial equality.

So what exactly does Mr. Beck mean to do to "restore honor" to America? Don't get me wrong, I am all for a rally of this type. I think it's high time we let the gaggle of buffoons in Washington know that the majority of Americans don't like the direction in which the nation is headed. The "change" that we were promised hasn't been much of a change at all. But why do we need a talking head like Beck involved in order to make this happen?

Sorry, but I think that Beck's presence alone undermines the integrity of the entire venture. The only thing worse would be if Rush Limbaugh were involved.

I am always amazed at the number of people these talking heads can get to listen to them. I will give Limbaugh a little credit for at least being a creative thinker when it comes to criticizing the left. He is very bright and usually knows what he is talking about. His callous hectoring and rampant prolixity, however, make it impossible for me to take him seriously.

Beck, on the other hand, I can't even give credit for being very bright. He is an alarmist, like Limbaugh, who plays on the fears of Americans using incendiary rhetoric and conspiracy theories, but is not nearly as creative as Limbaugh.

Mr. Beck’s viewpoints seem to be fairly narrow and are heavily influenced by others, such as author W. Cleon Skousen, an prolific conservative political writer, American Constitutionalist and faith-based political theorist who believed that American political, social, and economic elites were working with Communists to foist a world government on the United States. Beck authored a foreword for the 2008 edition of Skousen’s book The 5,000Year Leap, originally published in 1981, and Beck's on-air recommendations in 2009 propelled the book to number one in the government category on Amazon for several months.

I am certain that both Mr. Beck and Mr. Limbaugh were somewhere doing cartwheels when it became certain that Mr. Obama had won the Presidential election two years ago. I am sure that a John McCain victory would have meant a drop in listeners and in turn, revenue. So don't they both owe our current President a vote of thanks for giving them a raise? Most of the rest of America hasn't gotten one in years, I would venture to say.

So this brings us to the point of how guys like Beck and Limbaugh can be so popular, and frankly, I don't have a clue. It's as if many Americans cannot think for themselves anymore. They need someone to lead them down the cerebral path to their own ideology. Yes, Beck and Limbaugh are right sometimes. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and again.

But do we really need these two to help us make up our minds about the state of the nation? Why can't the disillusioned in this country get angry enough to put a rally of this sort together without Beck's involvement? Would anyone show up if they did?

Mr. Beck has made it a point to say that the timing of the rally had nothing to do with the anniversary of Dr. King's speech. I wonder. Although he has been known to quote Dr. King on occasion, I am forced to question the sincerity of Mr. Beck’s desire to “restore honor” to this nation. I am compelled to inquire as to where Mr. Beck’s honor might have been when he was recorded saying that Mr. Obama had a “deep seated hatred for white people.”

Or why he never felt that there was a need to restore the nation’s honor at anytime during the previous administration, which certainly had its ups and downs.

No, I am compelled to recognize Mr. Beck for what he is – a showman, and little more. In a 2010 interview in Forbes, Beck asserted that his business was not political, but is an entertainment company: "I could give a flying crap about the political process," continuing on to say that Mercury Radio Arts, his production company, is "an entertainment company".

Entertainment aside, his incendiary rhetoric and conspiracy theories do little more than further divide an already divided nation.

So was this rally really about “restoring honor” to our nation, or another vain attempt by Mr. Beck to garner some more face-time on Fox News?

I am forced to say the latter.

Tim Williamson is a husband, father and writer always searching for new insights into the human condition. He has spent the past 20 years in various sectors of business, chiefly human resources and marketing. His interests include politics, history, religion and literature. He moved to the St George area from Cincinnati, Ohio, in July of 2009, and currently resides in Santa Clara with his wife, Julie, and their sons Jacob, 6, and Mark, 4.

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