Chicagoans Heading to DC for This Weekend's Glenn Beck vs. Al Sharpton Civil Rights Showdown | Bleader

Chicagoans Heading to DC for This Weekend's Glenn Beck vs. Al Sharpton Civil Rights Showdown


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Television/radio personality Glenn Beck has promised that his "Restoring Honor rally" tomorrow in the nation's capital will be an "American miracle," the "Woodstock of the next generation," the "anti-Woodstock," and a "turning point in America," all packaged into one "unforgettable" weekend. Billed as a benefit for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation ("the troops"), the event is taking place on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, on the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, natch. Maybe Beck will revisit his "I have a theory speech," in which he called President Barack Obama "a guy ... who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture, I don't know what it is"—but who doesn't dislike whites, necessarily.

Here's the video of that remarkable oration:

Despite featuring Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent, and Beck himself as headliners, the rally will supposedly be "non-political": an homage to the troops "and other upstanding citizens who embody our nation’s founding principles of integrity, truth and honor." Apparently, the speakers won't actually be speaking, then! They'll just be modeling new fashions and posing with firearms or something.

The Chicago Tea Party was offering van rides to the show for only $30, and got a discount on hotel rooms, but their website says that deal sold out. If you can't afford to drive yourself all the way to Washington, have patience: Beck will be coming to town on September 18 for the Right Nation 2010 event; the Tea Party's got discounts for tickets to that event, too.

Not everybody in D.C. will be Jeremy Hoopin' it up with Beck and friends. The Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network organization are hosting their own "Reclaim the Dream" rally and march from a D.C. school to the King Memorial tomorrow. "[W]hat we as a collective sometimes forget to impress upon the next generation is the depth to which Dr. King was an advocate the position that the federal government as he knew it was the only effective tool to ensure a unified system of equality in every state," says a NAN press release. "Today, the Tea Party and allied conservatives are trying to break that national stance on justice and, in turn, break the crux of what the civil rights movement symbolized and what Dr. King fought and literally died for."

NAN's Chicago chapter is sending a delegation to the event, with bus seats costing $115 per person. Executive director Maureen Forte says her travelers include a diverse group of lawyers, ministers, and families. "Our goal is to educate and unify," she says. What does she think about Beck's assertion that his rally is an effort to "reclaim the civil rights movement" from, well, whoever he's reclaiming it from? "He's just speaking without thinking," she says. "If he would read his history, he would be out of here, because the Indians were here first."

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