I’m not all that sure about what the kerfuffle is all about, but I’ve gained a few insights about the man.
Initially, I didn’t get indignant or outraged that Beck was having a revival on the same day as MLK’s historic I have a Dream speech. Although a speech that is now iconic in American history, it has been played out to the point of parody (“I had a really weird dream last night“), and I don’t think it was even his best one.
The rally, however, did reveal some aspects of Beck’s personality. I’ve always found him insufferably (deceitfully?) ingratiating, obsequious at times, and insulting on others. His whingy sentimentality merely makes me even appreciate Bill O’Reilly’s strong arm.
The rally made me consider that he truly does want to make a difference. In itself that is admirable. But it seems to me that he’s really got a secret Obama envy.
Instead of working to challenge the powers, to gather the people, the hard way, as Obama had done, Beck consistently takes the easy way out. Obama’s mettle has been tested: he worked hard to get through school, was disciplined in his personal life, and has sacrificed a potentially lucrative career of that of public service. Instead, Beck has been rewarded for his immaturity, his identification with the resentful, anxious and fearful element of the American Public. He seems to be one of those people who thinks that Obama has gotten more than he has deserved, and that he is not fit to run the country.
What outrages me is the audacity that Beck would hold a revival when the man has no flesh-and-blood congregation. His interest in the lives of the public seems opportunistic at best, and non-existent at worst. From where does was he given the authority? At the very least, pastors are given the authority from congregations who’s everyday difficulties aren’t ideological, but concrete. He pontificates and orders people about, without the real relationship building that most pastors consider part of their work. How dare he preach to anyone about spiritual improvement from the vantage point of arrogance about his own supposed gifts?
Was it a success? We’ll see. Building a movement isn’t for the charismatic: it is for the organized. My suspicion: he is even a two-bit propagandist, a man who should be challenged as a fraud at every step. He wants desperately to be taken seriously; but since he cannot, he offers his followers what they want. The adult wing of corporate party has the responsibility to ask him directly: does he really believe the things he says, and will he sacrifice his career on them? Or will he be revealed to be an opportunist?
Until I see that time, I will continue to be baffled by why he has the attention he gets. Although, like any bright child, it is exactly what he is good at.
3 thoughts on “On Beck”
Actually, as a convert to the LDS faith, Beck could theoretically receive a calling from his stake president to become bishop of his local ward. But I suspect his authority wouldn’t come from his congregation; it’s a very top-down hierarchy.
On the other hand, it would be a terribly well organized movement of Beck went that route, and if the leadership were crazy enough to risk the inevitable backlash from their sometime-allies on the Religious Right.
About Beck’s preaching: as a non-Mormon who grew up in Salt Lake, I think his speech could easily have been a re-working of an ordinary “testimony meeting” talk. It would have to be cut for time and there would be more blubbering, but many in the audience were probably quite comfortable with listening to what most would call a lay preacher.
I’m as far as one could be from a fan of Glenn Beck’s, and yet I suppose you put me on his side when you describe him as “one of those people who thinks Obama got more than he deserved.”
I don’t think it is a great leap to suggest that a man who went from state legislature to US Senator – for a term – was perhaps rushed in his bid to the White House. And who “deserves” public office, especially the Presidency? It is better to ask who is prepared. Simply because Obama looks good in a suit, is the right color to please the political mood of the moment, and inspires people with speeches of no substance, does not make him prepared to be President. This seems to have shown forth, at least recently, as his approval ratings and confidence levels by the American people are plummeting.
But Glenn Beck is a moron on a galactic scale. One day we may well be judged for bolstering his popularity and message as a nation.
I think that Obama did take advantage of a strange set of coincidences. It may be true that he understood that he embodied some deep aspirations of the American public. He seemed to understand that political “experience” is a double edged sword in the current environment.
Although I think he’s made some mistakes, has been too trusting of bankers, too committed to “bipartisanship,” and a bit idealistic about the motives of people in Washington, his tenure has still, in my view, been remarkable. According to Politifact and Congressional Quarterly, Obama has been more effective than many presidents in getting the work done. Granted, people may not agree with that agenda. The left wants him to be perfect; the right just wants him to lose.
It is true that he had little experience. But building an organization that defeated the Democratic Establishment and the Republican Party was no small feat. The questions of his ability to lead should have been put to rest.
That said, there are plenty of policies to disagree with, and I personally wish he’d channel Machiavelli rather than More.