Milbank on Beck's appropriation of MLK: "[A]ccused of racial pot-stirring," Beck decided to be "patently offensive"
In a column in today's Washington Post, Dana Milbank takes on Glenn Beck's ridiculous claim that his rally, held on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington would "reclaim" the civil rights movement from progressives.
Milbank observes that last year, Beck called President Obama a "racist" and states that Beck's response to the people criticizing that remark has been to be "patently offensive":
I was reminded of Beck's affection for deception as he hyped his march on Washington -- an event scheduled for the same date (Aug. 28) and on the same spot (the Lincoln Memorial) as Martin Luther King Jr.'s iconic march 47 years ago. Beck claimed it was pure coincidence, but then he made every effort to appropriate the mantle of the great civil rights leader.
Beck as the fulfillment of Dr. King's dream? And you thought "War of the Worlds" was frightening.
It's been just over a year since Beck famously called the first African-American president a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred for white people." And now, accused of racial pot-stirring, he apparently has determined that the best defense is to be patently offensive.
"Blacks don't own Martin Luther King," he tells us, any more than whites own Lincoln or Washington. "The left" doesn't own King, either, he says.
No, Beck owns King. "This is the moment, quite honestly, that I think we reclaim the civil rights movement," he said this spring. "We are on the right side of history. We are on the side of individual freedoms and liberties and, damn it, we will reclaim the civil rights moment. We will take that movement because we are the people that did it in the first place."
Milbank also discusses what the civil rights movement may actually mean to Beck:
Finally, Beck updated the meaning of the civil rights movement so that it is no longer about black people; it is about protecting anti-tax conservatives from liberals. Civil rights leaders, he said, "purposely distorted Martin Luther King's ideas." Over the last century, Beck reasons, "no man has been free, because we've been progressive." To his followers, he says: "We are the people of the civil rights movement."
The whole column is definitely worth a read.