Glenn Beck cranks up the culture wars
By Rich Benjamin
August 31, 2010
Editor's note: Rich Benjamin wrote the book "Searching for Whitopia: An Improbable Journey to the Heart of White America," winner of a 2009 Editor's Choice award from Booklist and the American Library Association. He is also senior fellow at Demos, a nonpartisan think tank.
Glenn Beck, consummate showman and talk hound, would have been more honest calling his rally to "Restore Honor" a rally to restore the culture wars.
Despite his splashy show to celebrate the troops, Beck's rally was not about "honor" any more than the controversy over the Islamic center near ground zero is about a building -- or the immigration debate is about fixing the system. Instead, Beck's rally upped the ante on America's social divides, all the while appearing to champion unity. It was a clever head-fake disguising backward conservative zealotry as feel-good inclusion.