Today March 27, 2010, I attended Glenn Beck’s “American Revival” meeting in Orlando—and close to an old-fashioned “Revival” meeting it was—complete with two singings of “Amazing Grace”, a few tiresome confessionals (worst by Glenn) and one actual (security officer assisted) “healing.”
I don’t know what to thing of Glenn Beck and his followers: basically a very mixed bag.
One of my closest collaborating colleagues says that Glenn Beck is a “Monster”—-I don’t quite get that, unless you consider self-absorbed windyness a form of monstrosity (and even if you do, I’ve run into and heard MUCH worse). I would not rate him as interesting an opinionated speaker as Alexander Woollcott, so good a news reporter or story-teller or moral editorialist as Paul Harvey or anywhere close to a speaker as inspiring as Ronald Reagan. Still, he’s definitely a unique phenomenon in the United States of America today.
So I went to see the man in person today for the first time in my life at the University of Central Florida Arena in Orlando today. Glenn Beck is nowhere the stature or determination of Judge Andrew Napolitano who also appeared, along with David Barton and David Buckner at a kind of “soft-core conservative pop culture symposium” today. It wasn’t anywhere nearly as interesting or intense as the Tenth Amendment Summit I attended exactly one month in Atlanta, but it was 200 times better attended—around 8,000-10,000 people in attendance (and massive traffic jams around UCF) in Orlando compared to 400-500 at the Atlanta Airport Hilton. I cannot help but think that both meetings are symbolic of the radical resurgence of constitutional thought in America. The Tenth Amendment Center is based in Los Angeles, Judge Napolitano is from New Jersey—both meetings were in two of the original Seven States of the Old Southern Confederacy—how is it going to help me realize a state right democratic resurgence in California?
Some conservatives are devoted watchers of Glenn Beck. I am not. I don’t feel he has anything to teach me. (Judge Andrew Napolitano is actually fairly “hard core” and he does much to teach, as do some of the other participants, notably David Barton on the history of religion during the Revolutionary and Constitutionally formative among the founding fathers—a perennially controversial topic).
I know that Glenn Beck opposes two of the political theories/causes/movements to which I adhere and subscribe firmly: (1) to presume the constitutional ineligibility of President Barack Hussein Obama until he proves us wrong—because the time he may count on the “presumption of innocence” is now long gone, (2) the 911 Truth movement—which is probably (in the long run, more important than the “birther” movement to which it is regularly linked—it matters little, in reality, where Barack Husseim Obama was born, except that if he was born anywhere in the U.S. or the World other than the United States, or if he doesn’t in fact know where he was born, then he’s a gigantic liar and fraud—and as with so many things, such as the importance of Monica Lewinsky or Britney Spears, the Americans are the only people on earth who, by majority vote anyhow, believe the “official U.S. Government story” either of the 9-11 terrorist attacks or Barack Huseein Obama’s constitutional eligibility).
So why does Glenn Beck refuse to entertain discussion on Barack Obama’s birthplace and any detailed inquiry into questions such as “How did WTC7 Fall?” and “Why was there no aeroplane debris around the Pentagon?” And “what a coincidence that the U.S. Air Force was engaged in conceptually related exercises on 9-11-2001, but still failed to react to the real thing in time to take any preventive action?” Or, “why has both the press and the government been so completely closed behind stone-walls on this topic?”
A new acquaintance who teaches Constitutional Law in South Florida may have the answer: Glenn Beck is an “operative” moderate, a uniquely conservative voice in mainstream media whose purpose is nonetheless to preserve the IRS, the Federal Reserve Banking System, and the general Title 42 Social Security and Public Welfare Program which has almost totally merged the state and Federal governments (as a matter of administrative law, hidden behind a facade of judicial separation in the publicly accessible courts). The most important issue facing any country is whether its highest governmental leaders are willing to murder them for their own (the leaders’ own) advancement. “False flag” terrorism is hardly a new concept, but 9-11, if an example, would certainly the most heinous, outrageous example in world history. If 9-11 truthers are correct, and I think there are, then there is little point in negotiating with the present government of the United States, and the question of whether Barack Hussein Obama was born in Mombasa or Honolulu simply pales by comparison, because the administration of Barack Hussein Obama has not sought to indict or even investigate any high officials of the Bush Administration.
But tomorrow is Palm Sunday—the day of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. I have been reading all of John Dominic Crossan’s books I can get my hand on since hearing this brilliant Irish-American scholar speak at Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, Florida last month. I was born on Palm Sunday, 1960, and my son was born in Palm Beach and baptized at Bethesda-by-the-Sea. He’s off camping this weekend and his mother my estranged Elena is worried because he isn’t calling from camp…but he’s closer to 18 now than 17, and so close to freedom and adulthood…but still treated as half-swan, half-goose, the boy whom we used to call “Little Charlie” (or “Little Hurricane” born on the eve of Hurricane Andrew in 1992)….and how do you tell mothers not to worry about their babies?
Imagine the First Easter week, for instance. John Dominic Crossan has written extensively about the Gospel story of Jesus’ last week, which happened to have been, at least in 1960, my first….
Mary’s somewhat prodigal son comes back to the Capital City after preaching in the countryside, and he rides a donkey (that’s kind of like running in the primary election as a write-in candidate, isn’t it, when your troops couldn’t organize your ballot ready application in time…). Glenn Beck spoke a great deal about religion and salvation generally, but not so much about Jesus on the Eve of Holy Week….. So Mary (whatever became of St. Joseph? and was James really Jesus’ brother????) has to watch the events of Holy Week unfold, right through a “summary judgment trial, capias, and execution” on Friday. A mother watching her eccentric, much beloved, wildly popular but even more wildly misunderstood, son break into the Temple, scatter the money-changers (without even filing a complaint with the SEC or Comptroller of the Currency? It was always doomed…..as is the world), generally challenge authority (my mother certainly couldn’t tolerate any of my activities, mild though they were back then…and not even close to Messianic…), and finally make everyone furious and be betrayed, arrested, condemned, and crucified—possibly the cruelest and most unusual form of capital punishment known—even when compared with such juicy methods as “boiling in oil”—which by comparison could not have taken long, compared with publicly bleeding to death while in effect standing up, very slowly….bleeding each drop of blood with each breath). Jesus suffered, as have so many victims of injustice.
Where was any mention of America’s prison population in the middle-class Glenn Beck love-fest today? With all the comparisons to the era of the founding fathers, 1774-1803, where was the comparison made that the imprisoned population of America today is now greater than the total population of America at that time or at either of the first two censuses. Where was any mention of the lies and deceits that permeate the government?
Basically, the economist, David Bruckner, at today’s Orlando conclave clearly accepted the basic tenets of Keynsian Monetarism and Public Welfare Socialism in the United States, even as he quibbled with whether the national health care system just approved by contract was financial viable or not—let’s face it, EVERYTHING is financially viable when you can print up the money, so long as the people can still use Federal Reserve Notes at Walgreen’s, Walmart, CVS, Publix, HEB, Winn-Dixie, Vons’, Randall’s, Star Market, etc..
Jesus’ approach to the money changers in the Temple was much more radical—he just drove them out, “just said no” as it were. And of monetary policy, his most famous statement was clearly valid until this day: “render under Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and unto God that which is God’s.”