Saturday, August 28, 2010

Uses of the Past

Randall Stephens

Historians, pundits, and activists are commenting on the Saturday Tea Party rally, called "Restoring Honor," at the Lincoln Memorial. The event--on the anniversary of MLK's 1963 march--brings up some important questions about the legacy and purposes of the past. Here are some of the comments, reflections on the 8/28 gathering:

Kate Zernike, "Where Dr. King Stood, Tea Party Claims His Mantle," New York Times, August 28, 2010.
WASHINGTON — It seems the ultimate thumb in the eye: that Glenn Beck would summon the Tea Party faithful to a rally on the anniversary of the March on Washington, and address them from the very place where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I have a dream” speech 47 years ago. After all, the Tea Party and its critics have been facing off for months over accusations of racism. >>>

Eugene Robinson, "Even Beck Can't Mar King's Legacy," Washington Post, August 27, 2010.
The majestic grounds of the Lincoln Memorial belong to all Americans -- even to egomaniacal talk-show hosts who profit handsomely from stoking fear, resentment and anger. So let me state clearly that Glenn Beck has every right to hold his absurdly titled "Restoring Honor" rally on Saturday. >>>

Martin Luther King III, "Still Striving for MLK's Dream in the 21st Century," Washington Post, August 25, 2010.
Forty-seven years ago this weekend, on a sweltering August day often remembered simply as the March on Washington, my father delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial. A memorial to him is being erected at the Tidal Basin, not far from where he shared his vision of a nation united in justice, equality and brotherhood. >>>

Robert Costa, "Armey: Glenn Beck’s ‘Serious, Scholarly Work,’" National Review, August 28, 2010.
Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R., Texas) spoke with National Review Online on Friday at FreedomWork’s “Take Back America” conference in Washington. The evening rally, which was attended by thousands of conservative activists, was a precursor of sorts to Saturday’s “Restoring Honor” event at the Lincoln Memorial. Armey calls “Restoring Honor,” which will be hosted by Glenn Beck of Fox News, an “important moment for America.” >>>

"Beck rally Saturday at Lincoln Memorial on anniversary of King's 'I Have a Dream' speech," The Guardian (Canada), August 28, 2010.
. . . . Beck, a Fox News personality and a conservative favourite, insists it's just a coincidence that his "Restoring Honor" rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is overlapping with the 47th anniversary of King's speech. Potential 2012 presidential candidate Sarah Palin is expected to attend along with some 100,000 people. >>>

Philip Elliott, "Glenn Beck Lincoln Memorial rally draws criticism," Christian Science Monitor, August 26, 2010.
. . . . Beck, a popular figure among tea party activists and a polarizing Fox News Channel personality, has said it is merely a coincidence that the event is taking place on the 47th anniversary of King's plea for racial equality. Beck has called President Barack Obama a racist. >>>

Julie Ingersoll, "Beck’s 'Dream'—Our Nightmare," Religion Dispatches, August 25, 2010.
David Barton, Glenn Beck’s favorite history “professor,” is the creator and purveyor of a revisionist history of race in America that is rapidly gaining traction in conservative and Tea Party circles. That history, drawn in part from the writings of Christian Reconstructionists, recasts modern-day Republicans as the racially inclusive party, and modern-day Democrats as the racists supportive of slavery and post-Emancipation racist policies. >>>

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