Martin Luther King had a dream of hope, not hate.
Martin Luther King had a dream of rising to embrace our better angels, not descending into a pit of our worst fears.
Martin Luther had a dream, and Glenn Beck wasn't in it.
47 years ago Martin Luther King gave his glorious, inspirational "I Have a Dream Speech" on the National Mall. Today, Glenn Beck employed all the tools of the demagogue to wrap Christian religiosity and King's legacy around a burning ember of hate.
Since the assassination of national hope in the killings of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King in the '60s, our nation has been mired in confusion and moved to a "language of the right" by the strategic use of resources and endless funds by wealthy Republicans.
In thinking about the mainstream media focus on Glenn Beck who has a cunning mastery of emotional manipulation -- I couldn't help recalling the tradition of false prophets. I recently read, "In religion, the term false prophet is a label given to a person who is viewed as illegitimately claiming charismatic authority within a religious group. The individual may be seen as one who falsely claims the gift of prophecy, or who uses that gift for demagogy or evil ends."
What could be a more apt description of Beck?
His desecration of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and his ongoing coded racism are just two examples of whose side he is in the religious firmament, and it's not the side of the angels.
Beck is a perverse Howard Beale, the TV broadcaster turned "prophet," in the prescient movie from many years back, "Network." In fact, in that film, Beale evolves from a network anchor to a "mad as Hell" preacher, complete with stained glass windows behind him when he is televised.
Friday night, Beck led what was described as a religious revival rally at the Kennedy Center, with Beck as both prophet and Christ-like leader of a new age, a "great awakening in America."
But isn't it really a prophetic sign of our descent into a state of hateful hysteria?
Some of this commentary first appeared in the Truthout/BuzzFlash daily E-mail of August 28.