Chasing Glenn Beck

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(NNPA)—I never thought it would have gone this low so fast. On the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech the major civil rights groups or should we now say “human rights” groups coalescing together not to celebrate the anniversary but to protest a White cable television icon’s celebration of the event. Something is very strange about this. It is like there is no agenda any longer for our human rights groups from an African-American perspective. They are now fighting for immigrants, gays and lesbians and ex-offenders regardless of their color. Direct action for African-Americans is fading fast and that is not a good thing.

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Just why are they upset with Glenn Beck? I believe it is because of his criticism of President Barack Obama. It seems that President Obama’s administration can fend for itself but these groups feel it is their duty to defend the honor and reputation of this publicly elected official. What it has come to is Democrats versus Republicans even though these groups are 501(3) organizations that are supposed to be nonpartisan. The truth is they are terribly partisan to a fault. In essence, former civil rights groups are now human rights groups terribly influenced by the labor movement (unions) and hopelessly directed by the Democratic Party. They represent the Democrat machine not the people. Please be aware of this fact.

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Beck is a very interesting person. He first started his television career on the liberal CNN. From there he transitioned to the conservative Fox News and “blew up” with his tirades and accusations of the liberal camps. He became the pride and glory of the conservative movement and many credit him with the start of the Tea Party movement. He is unashamed of his ultra-conservatism and will call out anybody in much detail and doctorial fashion. To the surprise of many he has lately been applauding Black history and many of the little known heroes of Black history. He is actually on a campaign to show all the contributions of our leaders in the making of America. It is admirable and you must give him his due praise. That is, if you are not on a mission to counter whatever he says as opposed to weighing his words as he speaks them. From my Black viewpoint Mr. Beck has been on the “1” in discussing the contributions of Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver and many others. So why are these human rights Democratic groups bashing him. Could it be the money they receive from the DNC that is doing it? Probably, it is reported that the Department of Education is giving one organizer $1.5 million to talk about education with Secretary Arne Duncan, who attended the protest rally by the way.

I went on the Glenn Beck show last December after a series of regrets. I finally relented just to see what would happen. We talked about the racist innuendos of California Sen. Barbara Boxer and the discrimination by construction unions in employment and contracting. The professionalism of his staff was very impressive. More than that, they were quite diverse with Blacks interacting at the management level. My wife and I must admit that the professionalism of his staff is probably better than that of any other talk show host. Glenn Beck knows what he is doing and his ratings are the second highest in cable television. The Lincoln Memorial event he produced on the anniversary date of the “I Have a Dream” speech (Aug. 28) is not a coincidence.

His recent campaign to promote Black history falls right in line with this event. It was here that he made clear that “one man can change the world” over and over throughout the ceremony. As a student of Dr. King and a direct benefactor of his work, I am impressed and appreciative of what Glenn Beck is doing. No one else thought of it. The human rights groups’ reaction were kneejerk as they were caught sleeping. They had no plans whatsoever to honor the anniversary. It was reactionary and on demand from the Democratic National Committee. It is so tough to be an organization when you have a “boss” telling you what to do. As my grandmother would say, “they were like chickens with their heads cut off.” They were running and ranting with no distinct purpose. Mr. Beck with his 500,000-plus followers had an agenda and mission. They accomplished it.

Glenn Beck is now touting that his movement is going back to the roots of conservatism. “We were the first ones to shout freedom for everyone and we are reclaiming that.” He flipped the script and the traditional colored groups took the bait.

(Harry C. Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. Website: http://www.nationalbcc.org. E-mail: halford@nationalbcc.org.)

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