I wrote recently about Glenn Beck’s ridiculous interview in which he did his best Rodney King impersonation, saying, “Can we stop dividing ourselves? Do racists exist? Yes. Do bigots exist? Yes. But most of us are not. Most Americans just want to get along. Why can’t we do that? What has happened to us?” GLAAD points out, as I did, that Beck is responsible for a lot of those divisions, especially when it comes to LGBT issues.
But on the second part, I have to wonder where Mr. Beck gets off acting as if he is so above and beyond it all. I mean, just look at the David Barton factor alone. No single media person has done more to raise David Barton’s profile. This would be the same David Barton who has said of same-sex marriage, “Messing around with marriage will affect economic prosperity of a nation because you’re violating the commands of God” and who says that “gay” is a misnomer because “Gay means happy, bright and cheerful and that’s not what homosexuality is.” In terms of anti-LGBT rhetoric, it’s practically impossible to exceed David Barton (or Ken Hutcherson, for that matter). So how can Glenn Beck possibly draw a distinction between a “bigot” and the kind of voice that he fosters?!
I’m not even someone who uses the “bigot” label, preferring to always focus on the messaging rather than messenger’s personal motivations. But Beck himself did use the “bigot” label in order to make his point that most Americans are not that and that we all should strive to just get along. How he can reconcile what he is preaching here with what he himself so regularly practices?!
In my view, he can’t. If Glenn Beck wants to help us learn to get along on this issue, then he needs to stop promoting voices who claim thathomosexuality is “barbarism” (Lapin), who equate homosexuality withburning your hand on a hot stove (Hutcherson), and who claim that it doesn’t matter what the Supreme Court says because God has said gays are like murderers, fornicators, kidnappers, liars, etc. (Barton). Until he does get away from this kind of hostility, his “Why can’t we get along?” question will remain hollow. Mr. Beck must first turn his questions inward and ask why he insists on dividing us.
As it turns out, Beck isn’t impersonating Rodney King so much as Captain Renault. He is shocked — shocked! — to find out there’s bigotry going on here, even when he’s the one giving those bigots a platform.
Like Dispatches on Facebook: