Remember Glenn Beck? Remember that guy who used to rant about caliphates and Agenda 21 conspiracies and presidents who hate white people? I know it has been a while (like maybe twenty or thirty minutes), but if you can reach back in your memories to that time that Glenn Beck was dispensing certifiably insane lectures on the end of civilization, you may be interested to know that he’s still doing it.
Yes, even though Beck has undergone revelations that such nonsense was destructive, he still persists. Even though he has apologized and claimed to have had epiphanies showing him the evil of his ways on at least two occassions:
June 7, 2013: For any role that I have played in dividing, I wish I can take them back.
January 22, 2014: I think I played a role, unfortunately, in helping tear the country apart.
And even though he claimed that his “craziness” was the product of his diseased mind:
November 11, 2014: I had begun to have a string of health issues that, quite honestly, made me look crazy. And, quite honestly, I felt crazy because of them.
The lunacy continues in the bowels of his Texas studio where today he unleashed some of his most vicious rhetoric to date aimed at First Lady Michelle Obama.
The impetus for this flow of vitriol was Obama’s inspirational commencement speech at Tuskegee University in Alabama (video below). It was a well-received address that began with uplifting praise for “all of you will take your spot in the long line of men and women who have come here and distinguished themselves and this university.” She continued with heartfelt personal stories of how she and her family were subject to many of the same hardships that African-Americans, and other oppressed minorities, have suffered due to prejudices that were ingrained in the culture of a nation divided by race.
Despite these hardships, Obama assured the students that this country holds great promise for them and that they must never give in to bitterness or cynicism. She used the example of the famous squadron of Tuskegee Airmen who distinguished themselves in World War II:
“Now, those Airmen could easily have let that experience clip their wings. But as you all know, instead of being defined by the discrimination and the doubts of those around them, they became one of the most successful pursuit squadrons in our military. They went on to show the world that if black folks and white folks could fight together, and fly together, then surely — surely — they could eat at a lunch counter together. Surely their kids could go to school together.”
Obama also spoke movingly about some of the outright bigotry that welcomed her and the President into national politics:
“Back when my husband first started campaigning for President, folks had all sorts of questions of me: What kind of First Lady would I be? What kinds of issues would I take on? Would I be more like Laura Bush, or Hillary Clinton, or Nancy Reagan? And the truth is, those same questions would have been posed to any candidate’s spouse. That’s just the way the process works. But, as potentially the first African American First Lady, I was also the focus of another set of questions and speculations; conversations sometimes rooted in the fears and misperceptions of others. Was I too loud, or too angry, or too emasculating? (Applause.) Or was I too soft, too much of a mom, not enough of a career woman?
“Then there was the first time I was on a magazine cover — it was a cartoon drawing of me with a huge afro and machine gun. Now, yeah, it was satire, but if I’m really being honest, it knocked me back a bit. It made me wonder, just how are people seeing me.
“Or you might remember the on-stage celebratory fist bump between me and my husband after a primary win that was referred to as a “terrorist fist jab.” And over the years, folks have used plenty of interesting words to describe me. One said I exhibited “a little bit of uppity-ism.“ Another noted that I was one of my husband’s “cronies of color.” Cable news once charmingly referred to me as “Obama’s Baby Mama.”
“And of course, Barack has endured his fair share of insults and slights. Even today, there are still folks questioning his citizenship. “
However, the lesson from this that Obama conveyed to the students was expressed in her realization that “if I wanted to keep my sanity and not let others define me, there was only one thing I could do, and that was to have faith in God’s plan for me. I had to ignore all of the noise and be true to myself — and the rest would work itself out.”
The overwhelming theme of the speech was victory over adversity, and the benefits of being true to oneself and committed to a path of harmony, service, and success, personally and professionally. But somehow Glenn Beck got a very different message. He castigated Obama for failing to solve all problems associated with race relations (video here if you have the stomach for it). He said that “they could have changed race relations forever. But they took us back to the 1960’s on grudge politics.” Of course, he never explained how the Obamas could change everything forever, or how they turned back the clock, but validating anything he says has never been a part of his shtick.
Beck was disturbed that Obama spoke about the very real tribulations faced by victims of prejudice. He surely would prefer that she had ignored such unpleasantness. But worse, he accused her of exacerbating racial strife and being ungrateful for the progress that has been made. He insisted that she had no right to lament the difficulties that she endured, and which many still endure, because her husband was elected President with votes from white people. In Beck’s world, progress means that all transgressions, past and present, are irrelevant. The only thing you should feel now is gratitude for the benevolence of all the white people who made your success possible.
According to Beck it is white, conservative, Christian men who are the victims of discrimination today. Somehow, in his severely warped brain, he believes that African-Americans who talk about the real strains of bigotry are self-absorbed whiners, but the beleaguered Caucasians of America have righteous grievances of social injustice. And if that weren’t delusional enough, he lashed out at Obama for fomenting violence and deigned to speak in her voice:
“The worst thing you can do is riot in the streets. She’s saying the opposite. ‘I know what you feel because I felt it, and even I’m the President’s wife and I still feel invisible. I feel like we’re not being heard. So I’m not only validating your feeling, I’m here to tell you it is happening.’
“And that’s why people are rioting in the streets. She is encouraging this kind of behavior.”
For Beck to pretend that he has any concept of what Obama has gone through in her life is repulsive in the extreme. But more importantly, his attack on her misses the whole point. She is speaking for millions of Americans who have suffered at the hands of bigots. And she is telling them to have faith in themselves and their ability to prevail through hardship. Beck played some clips of Obama’s speech, but never any of those where she told the students that their future was in their hands and that they can succeed with a positive outlook.
The fact that Beck came away from this with the notion that Obama was advocating violence and rioting is the best possible evidence of his overt animosity and inbred hatred. It affirms precisely what Obama was talking about. It affirms all of the worst that can be attributed to bigots like him. And it demonstrates that his prior testimonials that he has seen the light and doesn’t want to be a divisive figure anymore, doesn’t want to tear the country apart, were all lies. But then, we knew that already. He has never stopped being a hate mongering spokesman for the worst elements of our society, and it’s fair to assume that he never will.
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