Is Glenn Beck trying to play the race card for the benefit of his followers while being coy?
Is it mere coincidence that Beck selected the Lincoln Memorial, the venue Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. chose for his 1963 "I have a dream" speech? The date of August 28 also happens to fall on the forty-seventh anniversary of that historic speech.
Are these both coincidences, as Beck insists, or an insidious way to play to the more radical elements of the right wing fringes? Anticipating possible trouble, Beck has requested that no signs be brought to his rally.
We recall what happened at the huge Tea Party tax protest rally in Washington. Congressman John Lewis, a former aide to Martin Luther King, remarked that the reception he and another African American congressman received while seeking to enter the Capitol Building was reminiscent of the South in the sixties, when racists sought to snuff out civil rights efforts by Dr. King.
When a congressman was spat on, and this was the clear impression of those watching the tape, Tea Party supporters claimed that it was just a case of an excited tax protester accidentally unleashing some spittle.
As for signs, there were plenty of them. A number of them showed Barack Obama next to Adolf Hitler. Others portrayed Obama as a simian caricature. In other instances what resembled the monkey rally sticks displayed by fans at Los Angeles Angels games.
Were the monkey references coincidental? Were they nothing more than innocent expressions by Tea Party enthusiasts who just happened to love monkeys and, ironically, wanted to display that affection at what was billed as a tax protest rally?
Go back to 1980 for an example of another alleged coincidence. Republican presidential nominee Ronald Reagan selected as the venue for launching his fall campaign against President Jimmy Carter not one of the nation's major cities of a state with a large electoral
Instead Reagan strategists had the former California governor launch his ultimately successful campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Why was this small southern town selected?
In 1964 three young civil rights workers were slain in Philadelphia. All were in their twenties. One was an African American and the other two were Jewish.
Once again we encounter the coincidental Republicans. This spot just happened to have been selected.
The historical Republican line of coincidences in the civil rights realm continued after two milestone pieces of legislation were passed. The omnibus civil rights act of 1964 was passed under the leadership of the first southern president since reconstruction, Lyndon Johnson.
Following his landslide victory over Senator Barry Goldwater, Johnson exercised his leadership amid a top heavy Democratic congressional majority to secure the passage of the 1965 voting rights act.
During his successful 1968 campaign and after assuming office, President Richard Nixon and his advisers launched a Southern Strategy. This involved invoking the words "law and order" repetitiously. Following his election Nixon sent his official mouthpiece, Vice President Spiro Agnew, to southern states to mouth those famous words, after which "Dixie" would be played.
Lee Atwater ultimately conceded that the term law and order, as liberals claimed at the time, constituted code words letting southern reactionaries who hated the Johnson civil rights measures know that they were on their side. As for the playing of "Dixie" we did not need Atwater to help us analyze that significance. It evoked the rupture of America with the Civil War.