Yesterday, I did something completely out of character. Out of curiosity, I watched the Glenn Beck show on the Fox News Channel. I had to see for myself whether there was any substance to the claim that Beck is leading a MARs type movement against the Obama administration.
Beck started off his program by telling his audience that their voices weren’t being heard in Washington. It had to be one of the very first things he said. After that, he moved on to scolding three blacks (Charles Rangel, Maxine Waters, and John Conyers) and accusing them of corruption. Beck seemed to spend a lot of time emphasizing that these non-Whites were spending White taxpayer dollars. Later in the show, there was a memorable segment about the Constitution in which a dozen or so of the Founders were shown crafting the Constitution – all of whom were notably White men – followed by a cut to “Barack Hussein Obama” (with a stress on his middle name) being sworn in as President of the United States. This video was played with a voiceover of Obama saying that the Constitution was a “deeply flawed” or “fundamentally flawed” document.
The implicit message was that this Kenyan is a racial alien (perhaps a Muslim) and that Obama is subverting the Constitution established by the Founders. Beck went on to identify himself with the Founders, the Constitution, and pre-Obama America; with White America. This was unspoken, but understood. He called on members of Congress to become the ‘Refounders’. Towards the end of the show, Beck camouflaged his coded racial appeal to his White audience by comparing the Tea Parties to Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Frederick Douglass and their struggles against oppression. This seemed calculated to give Beck enough wiggle room to deflect charges of ‘racism’ from his liberal detractors.
Unlike Auster, I’m starting to believe from what I saw of Glenn Beck that he is indeed fomenting and leading a genuine MARs movement of Banal White Nationalists. His audience definitely has a self-image of being an “exploited and dispossessed group” (outsiders not insiders). They really do feel “ignored or ridiculed” by what Beck derisively calls the “fringe media.” They’re almost exclusively White working and middle class voters. They feel threatened by Obama’s redistributionist policies. The photos circulating from the 9/12 protest reveal a definite undercurrent of racial and cultural anxiety in the demonstrators.
Judging from Beck’s antics on television, his audience has a banal (not explicit) level of racial consciousness. At least this time, the charge of ‘racism’ from the Left is not without merit. Beck’s followers certainly don’t think of themselves as ‘racists’, but they share an implicit whiteness and nurse racial resentments like White Nationalists. It is mature enough at this stage for them to conceive of elite liberals and progressives as ‘the Other’. They have a dim, unarticulated understanding that they are “losing their country” and are starting to get angry about it. A significant number of them feel betrayed by both political parties.
I plan on tuning into Beck’s show more often to see whether or not this is just a mistaken first impression. Maybe I’m reading to much into the tea leaves here. I have a very dismissive view of conservatives and seriously doubt anything will come of this, but these signs of growing radicalization are encouraging nevertheless.