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Talk show host Glenn Beck held a rally called Restoring Honor at the Lincoln Memorial, the site of the Rev. Martin Luther King's famous I Have A Dream speech in 1963. After Beck announced his plans, Rev. Al Sharpton and other accused Beck of "hijacking the dream," and planned an opposition rally of their own, called Reclaim The Dream.
Beck's rally drew hundreds of thousands of people (I'm hearing 500,000+).
Sharpton's rally reportedly drew thousands of people (I can't find a crowd photo or a crowd estimate, so it must have been pretty small.)
Because official crowd sizes on the Natonal Mall are no longer calculated due to arguments over the size of the crowd at the 1995 Million Man March, the actual crowd size at Beck's rally is only a guesstimate. Below is a photo of the Million Man March crowd, calculated to be 400,000 people. You can compare this crowd to the Beck crowd above and judge for yourself.
As per usual, the left-leaning mainstream media (MSM) felt the need to severely underestimate the size of the Beck crowd. CBS reported the crowd size at 87,000, so they could claim Beck fell short of his stated goal of 100,000. CBS used partial crowd shots (trick photography) to back up it's baseless claim, as you can see at this link. Other media outlets under-reported the crowd as "tens of thousands." Even worse, the Washington Post claimed the Beck rally drew "thousands."
Also as per usual, the MSM felt the need to point out the Beck crowd was mostly white, highly ironic on the anniversary of the day MLK's most famous line from his most famous speech urged people to be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. Apparently, the MSM doesn't think that applies to conservatives, Tea Party members, etc. Instead, the MSM prefers to be divisive.
Beck has made some controversial remarks himself (he called Obama a racist), and so has Sharpton (he calls all kinds of people racists), but on this day, I only heard one side preaching division, and that was Sharpton's side. Beck preached God, country, history, honor, and integrity. He was non-political. Sharpton preached anti-Beck and was entirely political.
I don't have a Beck transcript yet, so here's a sample video:
Contrast this with assorted remarks from the Sharpton people:
"Don't let anyone tell you that they have the right to take their country back. It's our country, too," said Avis Jones Deweaver, executive director of the National Council of Negro Women, making a reference to the Tea Party members attending the Beck rally at the Lincoln Memorial.
"We will reclaim the dream. It was ours from the beginning. A dream that we will make reality," she said at the Dunbar High School rally in northwest Washington, D.C.
"Schools all over America still were segregated and public accommodations housing was segregated and blacks in the South didn't have the right to vote. The march on Washington changed all of that. Glenn Beck's march will change nothing. But you can't blame Glenn Beck for his 'March on Washington' envy. Too bad he doesn't have a message to match the place or that is worthy of the march," said Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C.
"They may have the mall," countered Sharpton, "but we have the message. They may have the platform but we have the dream."
"This is our day and we ain't giving it away," said Sharpton, who reminded the crowd that much civil rights progress has been seen in the last several decades but more needs to be made.
Sharpton warned conservative forces they'd face a fight in the upcoming elections, and called on people to turn out to vote this year as they did in 2008, when Obama was elected.
"We're coming out to fight and we're not going to let you turn back the clock," [Sharpton] said.
I honestly don't know what Sharpton is talking about when he says he's not going to let Beck (conservatives) "turn back the clock." I don't know any conservatives who want slavery reinstated, who aren't in favor of civil rights, who want Jim Crow reinstated, who don't want blacks to have the right to vote, who are against good schools for blacks, etc. Maybe there are a few, but these things definitely don't represent mainstream conservative thought, or mainstream Libertarian thought, or mainstream Tea Party thought. Conservatives, Libertarians, and Tea Partiers are FOR civil rights. The very heart of their platform is the notion that individual rights trump everything, even the government.
Al Sharpton doesn't have a monopoly on MLK's dream, and Beck certainly didn't hijack it, whatever that is supposed to mean. MLK's niece, Alveda King, spoke at Beck's rally, and said the following:
"My daddy, Rev. A.D. King, my granddaddy, Martin Luther King, Senior -- we are a family of faith, hope and love. And that's why I'm here today," King said. "Glenn says there is one human race, I agree with him. We are not here to divide. I'm about unity. That's why I'm here, and I want to honor my uncle today."
There will be disagreements on political matters, big ones, but nobody is trying to hijack MLK's dream, turn back the clock, or whatever. If there are such people, they certainly are carrying 'Don't Tread On Me' flags, which represent individual liberty. There were lots of those at Beck's rally. I consider myself to be a fiscal conservative/libertarian, and Martin Luther King Jr. is one of my idols. The man was heroic, and gave everything for his dream, even his life. It wasn't easy for him to stand up in the segregated south back in his time. It was very dangerous, yet he did stand up, and changed the country for the better. When Beck spoke yesterday about moving forward together through the scars of the past, that is part of MLK's dream, even if Reverend Al doesn't want to hear it, even if Reverend Al wants to make MLK's dream his and nobody else's. Sorry, Reverend Al, that's not how it works.
But since this is a political blog, I will make one political statement of fact...Martin Luther King was a Republican.
Hijack that, Mr. Sharpton.
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