Glenn Beck 8/28 Rally–The Death Rattle of Mainstream Conservatism

James Edwards, Political Cesspool, August 30, 2010

Glenn Beck’s big rally at the Lincoln Memorial a couple days ago is the talk of the news media and the internet. {snip}

Nobody is really sure what it was even about. {snip}

It was about “restoring honor” or something, whatever that’s supposed to mean.

Or it was a way of supporting the troops, depending on which day you listened to Beck.

Then it turned into a rally to reclaim the Civil Rights movement, and give it back to the people who Beck swears pioneered the Civil Rights movement, right wing conservatives. Yes, that’s what Beck actually claims to believe. {snip}

It also has something do with honoring all those unsung heroes of the American Revolution, the numerous black Founding Fathers, whose existence (until Beck came along to set the record straight) has been covered up by “liberals” who are trying to divide us by race. {snip}

And Palin? She was asked what Martin Luther King would’ve thought of the rally. This was a great opportunity to tell it like it is for all of America to hear. She could’ve said something like: “Martin Luther King? I’m white–why would I give a damn what Martin Luther King would’ve thought about this rally? At any rate, he no doubt would have disapproved, as he was a radical left wing socialist whose movement was all about increasing the size and power of the federal government, and using it to take rights and resources from white people and give them to non-whites. Hell no he wouldn’t have approved, and I couldn’t be more proud of that fact.”

But did she say anything like that? Of course not. {snip}

(Of course, none of this idiotic pandering did anything to convince liberals and non-whites that Beck, Palin, and the hundreds of thousands of white people who showed up at the rally are anything but despicable racists and Nazis.)

As it turned out, the rally was actually a huge revival meeting, in which Beck implored America to turn back to the god(s) of our Jewish-Christian-Muslim-Hindu-Mormon-Voodoo-Sikh-Zoroastrian heritage that made America great. He had over 200 members of the clergy on the podium, and he stressed that they were from “all faiths” and it didn’t matter which god we pray to, as long as we pray to something or someone, singular or plural. {snip}

{snip}

Clearly, Beck’s rally was a vague, confused jumble of meaninglessness. Or, if you prefer, a hot ghetto mess. Yet many conservatives are excited and thrilled, and think that 8/28/10 will forever be remembered as some kind of turning point, as the day when the huge task of “taking America back” formally got underway. In reality, it was the exact opposite. I’m convinced that one of these days, we’ll look back on this as the nadir of the mainstream conservative movement, as its death rattle, as the day the conservative movement gave up the ghost. Hundreds of thousands of white conservatives spent millions of dollars to travel to DC, to stand around and do nothing, for no reason in particular, after being ordered not to bring any signs to express themselves, while Beck and Palin lectured them on the glories of The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., and the importance of getting back to the fundamentals of the Christian-Jewish-Muslim-Hindu-Sikh-Mormon-Voodoo faiths.

{snip}

The demographic changes that have transformed Orange County are also transforming the rest of America. The process may be further along in Orange County, but it’s happening everywhere. Thanks to immigration, sixty percent of the babies being born in Texas are non-white, and it’s only a matter of a few more elections before Texas’s electoral votes go to the Democrats, and when that happens, the GOP can forget about putting one of their own in the White House ever again. And there are many other cities and states that are right behind Texas, and lots more where the process will take a few more decades to have the same effect, but all of America is on its way to turning into Orange County, California.

That’s why the Beck Heads and Tea Partiers are losing their country. Not because they don’t attend their local mosque often enough. But they can’t admit that, because that would be “racist”, and losing your country is a lot better than being called “racist.”

But a conservative movement as willingly impotent as the crowd that came to DC on Saturday can’t go on much longer. At some point it’s going to dawn on them that no matter how much they grovel to MLK and praise his holy name, or how many “conservative” imams, shamans, and witch doctors they pack their podiums with, they still get called racists and Nazis, and their country just keeps slipping further down the tubes.

When that finally sinks in with conservatives, and it may be sooner than we think, things will start to get interesting.


One crucial element of the American subconscious is about to become salient and explicit and highly volatile. It is the realization that white America is within thinkable distance of a moment when it will no longer be the majority. This awareness already exists in places like New York and Texas and California, and there have even been projections of the time(s) at which it will occur and when different nonwhite populations will collectively outnumber the former white majority. But it also exerts a strong subliminal effect in states like Alaska that have an overwhelming white preponderance.

{snip}

For example, so strong is the moral stature of the Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement that even the white right prefers to pretend to emulate it. {snip} But it is increasingly common to hear allegations that Obama is either foreign-born or a Muslim. And these insinuations are perfectly emblematic of the two main fears of the old majority: that it will be submerged by an influx from beyond the borders and that it will be challenged in its traditional ways and faiths by an alien and largely Third World religion.

{snip}

{snip} Beck’s event was tepid {snip} a call to sink to the knees rather than rise from them. {snip} but the overall effect was large, vague, moist, and undirected: the Waterworld of white self-pity.

{snip} Well, the U.S. population is simply not going to be replenished by Puritan pilgrims from England, and the original Pledge of Allegiance was fine with most people as a statement of national unity, until its “original intent” was compromised by a late insertion of the words “under God” in the McCarthyite 1950s. But one still sees what she means and can feel sympathy with the pulse of nostalgia.

In a rather curious and confused way, some white people are starting almost to think like a minority, even like a persecuted one. {snip} The clue, surely, is furnished by the remainder of the speeches, which deny racial feeling so monotonously and vehemently as to draw attention.

Concerns of this kind are not confined to the Tea Party belt. Late professors Arthur Schlesinger and Samuel Huntington both published books expressing misgivings about, respectively, multiculturalism and rapid demographic change. But these were phrased so carefully as almost to avoid starting the argument they flirted with. More recently, almost every European country has seen the emergence of populist parties that call upon nativism and give vent to the idea that the majority population now feels itself unwelcome in its own country. The ugliness of Islamic fundamentalism in particular has given energy and direction to such movements. It will be astonishing if the United States is not faced, in the very near future, with a similar phenomenon. Quite a lot will depend on what kind of politicians emerge to put themselves at the head of it. Saturday’s rally was quite largely confined to expressions of pathos and insecurity, voiced in a sickly and pious tone. The emotions that underlay it, however, may not be uttered that way indefinitely.

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