Thursday, September 30, 2010

LTE: Glenn Beck

Dear Editor, Asheville Tribune,

In its recent editorial critical of large-scale conservative protests in Washington, D.C., UNCA's sophomoric Blue Banner newspaper relays its received Progressive talking-points and proceeds to conflate Glenn Beck's well-attended religious tent revivals and the populist national Tea Party Movement in an attempt to discredit them both with a searing swipe. And yet fails for these very good reasons:

First, by descending into 'ad hominem' personal attacks, the Banner reveals the absence of a valid counter-argument within the points it thinks it is making. Inflammatory slurs like "lunatic" and "snakes" reveal little in the way of facts and logic, but a great deal about the pettiness of hostile ideological bias in local media. Let us just say it is unpersuasive.

Second, the Banner simply invents ill motives for both phenomena and directly resorts to a well-worn approach in political debate: smear your opponents with manufactured intrigue. By mischaracterizing the nature of Beck's event as "equating the rich white American's economic and spiritual struggle to the civil rights movement," the Banner creates a straw-man which it would then strike down with unfortunate and snippy rhetorical flourishes. Mixing in a little birther-mania for good measure.

To be sure, Glenn Beck is a maudlin, self-aggrandizing theocratic sentimentalist with more persona and poignant pauses than compelling analytical substance. But Beck certainly has both the legal right and the moral sanction to host a quasi-political rally at the Lincoln Memorial; even after the fashion of King in his heyday. It seems Beck is experiencing a bit of a brush with popularity these days. He appeals to a certain bent in the political marketplace. And from which I'm sure he'll profit. I don't begrudge him that. We need bread and circuses.

The Tea Party Movement, on the other hand, is an independent, decentralized, nonpartisan, grassroots political issues-oriented community that stands against the out-of-control growth of government power, scope, arrogance, recklessness and corruption and stands for restoring the supremacy of individual rights in American society; for re-establishing an objective rule of law under a constitutionally-limited and accountable government; for fiscal responsibility that does not privatize profits and socialize losses; and for the full realization of an economy that is free from government interference and political controls. This fact the Banner is loathe to acknowledge -- even after two years. Fonder are the caricatures.

The Blue Banner seems now to decry populist movements of democratic political dissent and zealous religious revivalism; which were all the rage in the 60's when Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., marched on the same grounds that tea partiers and the reverent do now.

Remember those bumper stickers from the 60's? "Power to the People." "Dissent is Patriotic." A new breed is preaching those values. Disaffected America today is peeling back those bumper stickers from the hand-painted minivans of yesterday and is now pressing them onto their Suburbans and pickup trucks with the same passion and for the same reason. Right On!




Tea Party Movement is a Revival of the Middle Class
By Tony Blankley | September 29, 2010
Ortega famously argued that a materialistic mass population had no self-restraint, only takes from its civilization -- in contrast to the elites who still sacrificed for the greater good. Lasch's point -- and mine -- is that roles are now reversed. It is the elites who are the materialists and the tea party/middle-class American who is prepared to sacrifice for our grandchildren's freedom and prosperity.