25 August 2009

Glenn Beck, Advertisers Bail Under Pressure - Second Thoughts

Next to outliving that little butt-head who used to beat me up everyday on the way home during the fifth grade, I can't think of anything that gives me more glee and delight than watching as Glenn Beck takes it in the neck as advertisers leave him quicker than Pabst beer-drinking, pick-up truck-driving, white socks wearing, nose-picking, butt-scratching, crotch-adjusting, good old boys cutting out of a Dixie Chicks' concert.

So far as we now know, the Clorox Company, Wal-Mart, Sprint, CVS and UPS stores have cancelled their advertising schedules on his show. Beck, who often appears in tearful, emotional melt-downs similar to that of a sixteen year-old girl who finds out that her dad will be the chaperon at the dance, recently characterized President Obama as a racist "with a deep-seated hatred of white people", averages 2.4-million viewers each day.

Yes, it was inflammatory. Yes, it was hateful, stupid and outrageous. Yes, it was just one in a whole series of provocative remarks by a man who grows increasingly unstable before our eyes. Yes, it contributes to a climate of violence and mistrust, which very well contributes to people showing up strapped at presidential appearances; and yes, it probably does contribute to the crazed actions of mentally unbalanced people who assassinate abortion providers and kill, at church, liberals.

Yes, yes, yes, and yes to all that. I know. I even, recently, signed a petition to Wal-Mart asking that it withdraw its advertising from the Glenn Beck Show. I now, wish that I had not.

Here's why. On one hand we leftists, progressives and liberals are outraged by the right's tactics of shouting down at town hall meetings those they disagree with. We wring our hands and pule about these heavy-handed (read Storm Troopers, Brown-Shirts, Nazis) assaults on that most basic demonstration of democracy in action. We do that. Admit it.

Is not dissent and civil disobedience part of our arsenal? Have we not, in our youth, called police officers pigs, did we not call LBJ a baby-killer, do I not, every damned chance I get, characterize George W. Bush as a dry-drunk sociopath? And, do we, and do I, not do these things expecting full protection under our right to Freedom of Speech? Huh? We do, don't we?

So what I think, at the moment anyway, is that there should be no glee taken in any attempt of those who disagree to stifle the voice of dissent--regardless. If we legitimize the squelching of dissent from the others, then haven't we also legitimized the squelching of our own dissent.

Understand this. Swords mostly have two edges. Or more succinctly, in the words of the great British Philosopher and Peer of the Realm, Sir Mick Jagger, "What goes around, comes around!"

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