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.