As published on Common Dreams and Online Journal, 8/31/10:
Nearly a hundred thousand people flocked to Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally. Entire families drove in from distant states. They wore red, white and blue, carried American and Don’t Tread On Me flags. Some brandished a Christian standard, white, with a red cross on blue canton. A man peddled a self designed, quite attractive Tea Party flag. “Haven’t sold as much as I would like,” he complained to me, adding, “I’m unemployed.” One woman wore a T-Shirt, “HARD GLOCK CAFÉ.” Another, “NOT RACIST, NOT VIOLENT, JUST NO LONGER SILENT.” They heard Sarah Palin proudly declare that she spoke “not as a politician. No, as something more—something much more. I’ve been asked to speak as the mother of a soldier.” This, from a woman who is nothing but a politician these days, having relieved herself of all official duties. Aiming for 2012, she’s already a very long nose or two ahead of all other stumpers. “Say what you want to say about me, but I raised a combat vet, and you can’t take that away from me,” Palin reiterated. The sun baked faithful then heard Glenn Beck urge them to “pray on your knees, but with your door open for your children to see.”
So it’s basically God, guns and country, which is familiar enough, but what made this event truly bizarre was Beck’s decision to claim Martin Luther King as predecessor and inspiration. King spoke out against our military adventurism, while Beck and Palin celebrate it. King thought the money wasted on bombs and more bombs should be redirected to social programs, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” The Beck and Palin crowd, on the other hand, only scream about big government when public funds are allocated humanely, not destructively. They hate taxes, yet never rail against the biggest looter of our treasury, the military industrial complex. If King were alive, it’s doubtful he would want to share the same stage with these grinning, cynical bobble heads, Beck, Palin, or even Obama, for that matter.
If the Beck crowd consider Obama a Socialist or even Communist, what do they really think, deep down, of the much more leftist Martin Luther King? But King was murdered 42 years ago, so he can be evoked quite harmlessly. For clues into Beck’s thinking, one shouldn’t look at any Civil Rights leader, but Oswald Spengler. Spengler was obsessed with the decline of civilization, particularly White civilization. He equated culture with honor, which is inculcated and apotheosized by the military. With its hierarchy and stress on duty, the army provides the ideal social model. Equality means anarchy. Spengler even dismissed rationalism, defining it as “the arrogance of the urban intellect, which, detached from its roots and no longer guided by strong instinct, looks down with contempt on the full-blooded thinking of the past and the wisdom of ancient peasant stock.”
The Beck crowd also don’t much care for urban intellectuals, for these tend to be “politically correct” and “liberal.” These don’t pray on their knees, if at all. They mix with other races. Some of them are gay. Spengler despised liberalism, which he saw as a gateway drug to all forms of decadence: pacifism, nihilism, freedom of the press, even jazz and “negro dances.” Spengler complained that liberals were striving for "the greatest happiness of the greatest number." How dreadful. Enfeebled by liberalism, the white race was becoming vulnerable to usurpation by the “Yellow-Brown-Black-Red menace.” Spengler lamented, “How far in fact have the white nations advanced towards pacifism? Is the outcry against war an intellectual gesture or a serious abdication from history at the cost of dignity, honour, liberty? Yet life is war.”
A war between the races, that is. Within each race, however, there is also a threat from below, from the riff raff, less refined elements of society, especially the types that swarm and fester in the city. Spengler, “The Western Civilization of this century is threatened, not by one, but by two world revolutions of major dimensions. In both their real compass, their profundity, and their workings have so far escaped recognition. The one comes from below, the other from without: class war and race war.”
Today, what do we have but a black, supposedly Socialist president? One who’s also a Muslim, as 18% of Americans somehow manage to believe. To protest against this darkness, this Spengler’s nightmare come to life, many disturbed citizens drove hundreds of miles to our nation’s capital, though not without trepidation, since it has a 55% black population. It will be worth it, since there, on that vast, white stage, is a normal looking, somewhat sexy white woman, soccer mom, deer hunter and breeder of combat soldiers. On top of that, she comes from one of the whiter states, so her values are OK. Sarah supports big oil and big military, just like Obama, actually, but he’s only faking it. Dude’s a Socialist. In two years, all of this will be over.
According to Spengler, no dialogue or cooperation is possible between the different races or classes. The life of Martin Luther King proves that he was dead wrong.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
As published on Common Dreams and Online Journal, 8/31/10:
- Linh Dinh
- Born in Vietnam in 1963, I lived mostly in the US from 1975 until 2018, but have returned to Vietnam, where I live in remote Ea Kly. I've also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of a non-fiction book, Postcards from the End of America (2017), a novel, Love Like Hate (2010), two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), and six collections of poems, with a Collected Poems apparently cancelled by Chax Press from external pressure. I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). My writing has been translated into Japanese, Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in Tokyo, London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.