Fashioning himself as a kind of new wave civil rights prophet on Monday, conspiracy talk show host Glenn Beck predicted that his “long term” listeners would rise up and become “civil rights leaders” themselves before going on to “save the nation” from an unspecified threat.
“Things are going to get tougher,” he solemnly said. “And quite honestly, I believe I have said from the beginning, and I know this to be true more and more every day, that it will be this audience that saves the nation.”
“I no longer believe that it’s going to be saved in the way that we thought it would be,” Beck went on. “It may only be saved in remnants and pieces. There may only be portions of people that are actually living the constitution, but it will be saved. The American spirit will not be snuffed out.”
“I don’t know what’s coming,” he added. “I do know tough times are coming. And I do know that real civil rights leaders will rise. I don’t know who they are. If you’re listening to this program and you’re listening long term, they’re probably going to be you.”
Despite his attempts to co-opt the civil rights movement, Beck is adamantly opposed to a key tentpost of Dr. King’s legacy: economic justice. “I think that is part of it but that’s a part of it that I don’t agree with,” he told Fox News host Chris Wallace in 2010. “The real agenda should be equal justice, an equal shot.”
Beck also once shamed an actual civil rights leader — Rep. John Lewis (R-GA), who famously marched with King — after he walked arm-in-arm with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). “They locked arms because they wanted to compare themselves to the civil rights activists,” Beck said during a 2010 Fox News broadcast. “How dare you?! Look at these people! They refused to get up! But Nancy Pelosi? I don’t know how you can’t be offended by that.”
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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