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Palin at Beck rally: ‘I hope Dr. King would be so proud’

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Saturday, August 28, 2010 22:05 EDT
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Tens of thousands of people gathered Saturday at the site of Martin Luther King Jr’s 1963, “I Have a Dream Speech” to hear right-wing icons call on them to “restore America.”

In wide-ranging and often religious terms, Fox News talk show host Glenn Beck told Americans that their country was “at a crossroads” and urged them to return to “faith, hope and charity,” while former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told the crowd that “we must not fundamentally transform America as some would want.”

“Today we must decide, who are we? What is it we believe? We must advance or perish. I choose advance,” he said to a cheering crowd that stretched from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument.

Beck, who hosted the event to “restore America’s honor,” estimated that between 300,000 and 500,000 people attended the event. But a crowd estimate commissioned by CBS put the audience at around 87,000.

Hardly an African American was in sight.

The rally drew criticism because it was staged at the very same location where King made his call for racial equality nearly half a century ago.

Critics said Beck and fellow conservative icon Sarah Palin’s political stances were sharply at odds with King’s civil rights legacy.

Asked by ABC’s Tahman Bradley how she thought the legendary civil rights leader would feel about the rally, Palin responded: “I hope that Dr. King would be so proud of us, as his niece Dr. Alveda King is very proud as a participant in this rally. This is sacred ground where we feel his spirit and can appreciate all of his efforts.”

Critics said Beck and fellow conservative icon Sarah Palin’s political stances were sharply at odds with King’s civil rights legacy.

Black leaders, including the Reverend Al Sharpton, held a competing march and accused Beck of misrepresenting the slain civil rights leader’s message of equality among all races.

“The folks who criticize our marches are now trying to march themselves,” Sharpton said. “They may have the Mall, but we have the message. They may have the platform, but we have the dream. The dream was not states’ rights.”

Beck said the timing was coincidental, and argued he had every right to commemorate King’s struggle.

“Whites don’t own Abraham Lincoln. Blacks don’t own Martin Luther King,” he said earlier this month.

With a report from AFP

 
 
 
 
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