Much as I reference the Fox News commentator on my blog, I don’t mean it to say he’s by any means a significant or worthy intellectual challenge. Really, I think he’s nothing but a pathetic propagandist. However, he is for better or worse a basic mouthpiece for a lot of what goes on in politics today.
I have a habit of listening to NPR in the morning, before I do whatever it is I do during the day. This morning NPR featured another story on Beck, and this time detailing his retraction of his “Obama is a racist” statement with a new “Obama is a liberation theologist” one.
I, very literally, guffawed as I was walking from my house when I heard that.
Frankly, I absolutely do not believe Glenn Beck has an understanding of liberation theology beyond what he might’ve read on a Wikipedia page. He has always struck me as a loud-mouth but a poor scholar, even his reverence for Thomas Jefferson and other “founders” has always seemed rather shallow and misguided in my opinion. But citing liberation theology is completely bogus, perhaps politically “effective” but bogus none the less.
What kills me is that through all Beck’s (and many others’ pegging of Obama as such and such) is the irony of truly “bearing false witness against thy neighbor.” Obama is a Democrat and by proxy no more than a witness to capitalism with safety nets. To say he’s a black supremacist, Muslim, Communist or liberation theologian is absolutely “far-fetched” (to use NPR’s astute reaction) and fundamentally untrue. Where is the link? Really, where is it?
It is absolutely imperative, if this country is going to get anywhere, that spokesmen like Beck be fully called out for their rhetoric. I mean by liberals and conservatives alike. Much as I disagree with Republicans I can for the most part meet them on common intellectual ground. I do not think Republicans and conservatives are stupid. I really, truly don’t.
The ones who I feel are truly “stupid” are those, regardless of political orientation, who rely upon emotional rallies and false pretenses to push an agenda. That is Beck, that is Palin. They are not adversaries for me to argue against; they are propaganda, mythologizers and anti-intellectuals who need to be kicked out of the politcal arena if any meaningful dialogue is to take place.
Namely, we are heading to a confrontation on who and what it means to be an “American.” I think that is the key matter. While much of the Tea Party and hardcore conservatives are painting an exclusive, country club notion of patriotism, I feel both right and left have grounds to challenge such notions and realize that in a *real democracy* ALL have an equal voice and claim to citizenship, patriotism, “American values” and dialogue.
Really, I’ve been laughing madly over Beck’s prophetic call to virtue and patriotism. Because I am a deeply committed Christian and, while not “patriotic,” very committed to realizing the greatest potential for American society. If he and his ilk wish to push a “God and country” rhetoric around his politics, I am perfectly willing to challenge him, tit-for-tat, on those very same grounds. Without apologies and with reason foremost.
Beck, bring it on.