Lincoln 1860

Lincoln 1860

Friday, August 27, 2010

Glenn Beck Dishonor At The Lincoln Memorial

By now many, if not most, of you have heard about the "Restoring Honor" rally to be held tomorrow (August 28, 2010) by Glenn Beck at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. In addition to Beck, people who have been invited to speak are former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, National Rifle Association president Wayne LaPierre, and gun enthusiast and singer Ted Nugent.

Although Beck claims that this rally is not to be political, news reports are stating that most of the attendees tomorrow will be Tea Party activists. No surprise here, for most of Beck's and Palin's disciples also identify themselves as members of the Tea Party, that loose collection of groups which are simply angry at, well, just about everyone. Well, everyone except for Beck and Palin.

"Restoring Honor" of course implies that this nation has lost its honor. What honor has the United States lost? Honor for the troops? There have been no massive protests against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as the nation experienced in the 1960's against the war in Viet Nam. Soldiers are honored for their service and sacrifice to our nation, unlike when they were called "baby killers" by many people forty years ago. Today when a soldier falls, communities across our nation honors him or her with solemn and mournful services and processions. The honoring of our troops does not need to be restored.

I can help Mr. Beck to recognize some of the honor he and his fellow speakers need to restore. For starters, Beck can find the personal honor (if he knows what that means) to not call the President Of The United States a "racist with deep-seated hatred of white people." He can in the future find all the facts before he runs a person out of government as he did with Shirley Sherrod a few weeks ago, claiming she was racist when she really wasn't. He can further restore his own honor if he quits comparing his rally tomorrow to the rise of Abraham Lincoln.

Sarah Palin can help restore honor to the nation as well by promising to never again quitting an elected position in the middle of her term as she did as Alaska governor. That shows a lack of commitment, dedication, and personal integrity. In short, a total lack of honor.

The Tea Party protesters can aid in the restoration of honor by eliminating the racist overtones of their protests. Yes, the majority of the protesters do not carry signs with vile names, but there have been enough of them to give the movement a threatening tone.

Beck claims that this rally is also to "reclaim civil rights." It is an insult that this rally is being held on the anniversary of the defining moment of the civil rights struggles of the 1950's and 1960's. Tomorrow is the 47th anniversary of the immortal "I Have A Dream" speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the March On Washington in 1963. A speech in which he professed the hope that one day his children would be judged "not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

The location of this rally is especially an insult to the memory and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln deeply believed in the words of the Declaration of Independence, especially in the words that "all men are created equal." He spoke of tolerance, equal rights, and freedom. He wrote in his message to Congress in 1862 "Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history.....The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation."

Our nation is going through a fiery trial of divisiveness and turmoil. The question is, will this era in our history light us down in honor, or dishonor to the next generation(s)? As long as we have people like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin holding such sway with their appeal to raw emotions of fear and hatred, I believe that dishonor is in our future.


Jim said...

I completely agree. Very well said!

Anonymous said...

You'll find this funny but I have a wackadoodle uncle going!!

Carol Tiffin James said...

Another well-written, thoughtful commentary. It deserves to be published in a major newspaper.

Ronnie Owens said...

Racism of the Tea Party
If the Tea Party is racism and there probably is a very small fraction that is, well it is less racist, in my opinion, than the NAACP or Black's in general.

There is a double standard in this country. If we (whites) wore T-shirts with David Duke on them that's racism, and it would be, but if they would wear T-shirts with Malcolm X on them then that is Black Pride. If whites would attempt to have a White History month.... you see where I'm going.

I am sick of beating down whitey for slavery, over 140 years in the past. In my opinion they have not only reach equality but have gone past and are actually supplanting us (reverse discrimination). The race card has been played so much that I can see daylight through them for their much use.

Some may be offended at what I write here this morning, but the Tea Party is about fighting out of control spending, against departing from our founding documents and values, and fighting against Socialism (entitlements).

No, I reject that article as nonsense.

Marie said...

Perfectly said. Thank you.

Marie said...

Perfectly said. Thank you.

Geoff Elliott said...

Jim, Carol, and Marie - I thank you for your thoughts and praise.

Ronnie - I posted your comments as well because your own opinion, while different than mine, is important as well! Where I most disagree with you is that the Tea Party is all about fighting out of control spending.

That is a noble goal, to be sure. But, the Tea Party protests were nowhere to be found while former president George W. Bush exploded the deficit by attacking Iraq, and especially by instituting the Medicare druge coverage. And please do not forget that the initial government bailouts were done under his administration, too.

As I wrote, I thank each of you for your comments.

Anonymous said...

As Geoff said, if the tea party was really about fighting out of control spending then why weren't you rallying when Bush was spending BILLIONS of dollars to start the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

You can say that the protests are about out of control spending, but your actions do not back up your words.

You should have been protesting back in 2003 where our money and our soldiers were sent to the middle east.

I live in an area with a lot of tea party members. Every day at work I listen to them rant about Obama. Maybe you yourself are not racist, but as a whole the tea party is racist. I hear it every day.

Our founding fathers and Lincoln himself are spinning in their graves today. I myself am very, very sad that I live in a country full of such intolerant and hateful people.

The tea party folks keep talking about their patriotism. I think they're trying to convince everyone else (and perhaps themselves) that it's true. The truth is they are some of the most un-American people in this country.

Greg and Julie said...

Wow, I just started visiting your blog a short while ago after finishing another book on Lincoln.

I think your piece was just a bit harsh on Mr. Beck. Funny one charactistic they both have (Beck/Lincoln)in common is that they were both self taught. As I believe Mr. Beck has no degrees but is an avid reader of History - and that is something I have admired about Mr. Lincoln - his thirst for knowledge.

I think Mr. Lincoln would have applauded the freedom of speech - even when we don't agree with everything that is said.

Has this nation lost any of it's honor? Some words to describe honor are reputation, respect, good name, privilege, integrity, etc. Have we as a nation lost any of these traits? I think we have.

There are many in this country who feel that their voice is no longer heard in Washington.

To encourage a feeling of patriotism and action to make positive changes is what this country is all about!

I wish I was there.

I look forward to reading your blog more often. I am glad to learn I am not the only one excited to see the Lincoln experience return to Disneyland!!


Geoff Elliott said...

Greg and Julie,

Thank you for your sincere comments. And I thank you for taking time to read my op-ed piece.

Without a doubt, Abraham Lincoln would have defended Beck's rally yesterday, because we do have freedom of speech in this country as one of our founding principles. I defend Beck's right to have had it as well.

I'm curious. Do you think this country has lost privilege, respect, etc. only since Obama took office? If so, do you think we also lost respect as a nation when we invaded Iraq simply based on rumors of WMD in that country?

How would you define patriotism? Is it when we wear flag lapel pins and put flag magnets on our cars? Or is it when we volunteer to serve our country, not just in the military, but by helping those less fortunate than we are?

I agree that our voice is no longer heard in Washington. But it's not just the Democrats who don't hear us. The Republicans are just as guilty. That party wants unfettered capitalism, permitting banks and corporate America to take advantage of us, while millions of our jobs disappear.

I'm very suspect of Beck and the entire Tea Party movement. If the Tea Party movement was truly about protesting big government, then it would have solidified when "W" was president, protesting his dramatic expansion of Medicare, and his beginning two wars. The drug benefit in Medicare and these two wars have busted our budget and run up trillions in debt.

Yet the Tea Party movement came to being only when Obama took office.

I personally believe that this movement is so active simply because they don't like this president, whether it's because of the color of his skin, his middle name, or because he's a Democrat.

We'll see how these protests continue or not once a Republican takes office in the White House, whenever that might be.

Greg and Julie said...

Firstly, I am not familiar with all the ins/outs of the Tea Party Movement - while I am a Republican, I lay blame on both parties and the years of unbridled spending. I think it just came to a head at the end of the Bush administration, and I think President Obama was ill prepared for such a huge issue at the beginning of his term.

Time will only tell about the wars in the middle east. Was it worth the lives, expense? I really have mixed feelings about this - it seems like the middle east has always been in conflict and I question whether our influence there will be lasting.

When I think of the lives lost in Iraq and then I think of those lost in the Civil War. The comparsions - on many levels is very different, but just by casualty numbers alone -
how Mr. Lincoln kept the war going until there was finally success is mind bogging.

Patriotism - is a deep love for your country. You fly your flag on holidays, you work for the common good of the nation as a whole which starts at home by taking care of yourself, your family and then the community.

By taking care of your family first you relieve the burden of the community. You obey the laws of the land and encourage others to do so. I think every generation wants to leave things better for their children.

Patriotism is like love for your family - just on a larger scale!

...its also like you can talk ill of your family members, but NO ONE else can talk ill of them! We can complain about the many faults of our nation, but we don't want to hear it from other nations!

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