Here They Come, Sinclair!

When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.

Sinclair Lewis apparently made this observation in his book It Can’t Happen Here, which also happens to be the name of one of the greatest rock and roll ballads of all time. Well. I call it a ballad. Most people would probably call it “noise.”

I watched as much of Beckapalooza yesterday as I could stand. And I’m not a liberal like some of the e-mails I’ve received, urging me to boycott Fox “News” (I don’t know how I could boycott them any more than I currently do) and outraged and angry that Beck held his little soirĂ©e at the same time and place that Martin did all those years ago. I don’t think that’s what’s important about yesterday.

What I think is important is that Beck’s speech garnered more attention in the media than did Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s. Any time that man’s mouth flaps, people should be rapt because, unlike Beck, the words Bernanke says actually have a direct impact on your life. But I think that just shows to go you where the hell we are.

ABC News is guesstimating 87,000 people were in Washington yesterday to hear Glenn Beck and Prudence Palin. I’m not pissed off about it. Not really. I’m just kind of sad for those people. And a little afraid. Because there really is something to this thing, even as propped up by Koch money as it might be. And, you might notice, friends, that this movement is both draped in an American flag and it is brandishing its cross like it’s warding off vampires. And in its wake is a tremendously irrational fear of brown-skinnned Spanish speakers and a big drive to lock them up, with an emerging corporate prison system largely behind that effort. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

The other sad thing is that many of the folks in that audience probably never considered that the guy they’re so blindly following simply isn’t one of them. See, the great demarcation isn’t D or R, and it isn’t Liberal or Conservative, it isn’t any of that nonsense…it’s how much FU money you have. And Glenn Beck has a lot of FU money. And I’m guessing his average audience member has very little. Beck yesterday dragged out the old adage that poor people are actually some of the richest people in the world or some crap like that. Why do you think he’s telling you that? Because he genuinely has respect and admiration for salt-of-the-earth folks? Or to make you feel falsely noble so you won’t be so pissed off about where you’re at?

Beck’s show yesterday might have garnered a large audience. One might even have to admit that it was somewhat successful. I think that’s sad because it means that there are a lot of Americans who are perfectly willing to hear a truly disingenuous presentation and to follow it goose-stepping and mouth-breathing right on into the future. Sad. Very sad.

One more note about Beckapalooza: Bagpipes with “Amazing Grace?” Really?

And now, a postscript. I have at last sat down to begin reading a wonderful little book, “Hustlers and the Idiot Swarm” by fellow blogger Reverend Manny. The Reverend certainly has a fresh perspective and a sardonic wit to boot. I’m just starting chapter two today, so I might mention or discuss portions of said book as we go.