March 1, 2010

[Note: I'll be appearing on David Sirota's radio show Tuesday at 8:35 am PST to discuss Beck and his attacks on progressives.]

It's been pretty interesting watching Glenn Beck ratchet up the eliminationist rhetoric in his attacks on progressives in the past couple of months.

The storyline, as you may have gathered, is that the "progressive movement" is the root of all evil in American politics, a "cancer" and a "virus" and a "parasite" that has "infected" both parties. Beck has been doing a lot of fake "history" reporting when it comes to these attacks -- indeed, it tells you everything you need to know that he considers Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson as the presidential wellsprings of this Great Evil.

Well, as we observed some time back, there's a great deal of real history that Beck has to omit from his narrative in order to make these claims stick -- particularly the reality that progressive politics created the great American middle class consumer society that he and other right-wingers take for granted now, not to mention the conditions for average Americans before the arrival of progressive politics.

But one of the most interesting omissions from Beck's parade of progressive evils is one of the real achievements of progressive politics in the past half-century -- namely, the advancement of civil rights for minorities, beginning with the civil-rights movements of the 1950s and 1960s. These movements ended Jim Crow and made life better for millions of nonwhites, and created a more just and civil society along the way.

And you know, civil rights was a progressive cause. It still is. The opposition? It has always -- ALWAYS -- been conservatives.

Yet all the time Beck has been bashing progressives, he has simultaneously been hosting shows with audiences of black conservatives wherein they sit around and complain about how mean liberals are to them for being conservative and Beck gets to ask dumb white-guy questions like: "Why not identify yourself as Americans?"

Even more to the point, in both of these shows, Beck has glowingly quoted Martin Luther King -- who was, you know, a leader in the progressive movement.

So here's our question for Glenn Beck: If the progressive movement, as you claim, has been so relentlessly evil and has consistently taken America down the wrong path, what about civil rights?

Was Martin Luther King secretly evil too?

Should we return to pre-progressive policies -- you know, the "separate but equal" status quo of Jim Crow and segregation?

Indeed, your hatred of the "progressive movement" and its effects on American life raise a whole host of similar questions about your views on civil rights.

And we're just wondering.

Can you help us out?

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