To watch television on this 28th day of August you would never know that black and white TV went out of vogue some 30 years ago.
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I started my morning watching the BeckFest, as I like to call it … Glenn Beck’s attempt to bring folks back to God and revitalize the nation. So long as you’re not offended by attending a church service on Saturday morning, the event was pretty tame. Yes, one had to wonder about Beck’s audacity to hold a gathering on the anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech. One had to scratch one’s head at the participation of Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece Alveda, who injected politics into what was surprisingly a very apolitical event. One could even admire … and yes I do say admire … Sarah Palin for not taking any political shots and delivering a heart felt address that touched on mercy shown by the Afghan people toward wounded soldiers. Still, it was disconcerting that in a city that is probably at least 70% African-American, you could only pick out at most a half-dozen dark faces in the crowd. Where were all these black people?
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Ah, for that you needed to watch the Al Sharpton rally also being held in Washington, D.C. today. I watched five minutes and then turned it off. Why? Because as I turned it on radio host Tom Joyner was speaking and before he relinquished the microphone he said “I love you black people!”. What the hell was that about? Was everyone in that crowd worthy of Tom’s love simply because they were black? The sea of faces contained nary one fair-skinned one. If Glenn Beck had said, “I love you white people” all hell would have broken loose. Now, Beck paid only passing lip service to Muslims and Jews. And the theme of Beck’s gathering was definitely “atheists need not apply”. But Glenn avoided any racial third rails. In fact Ted Nugent, who recently told an audience how happy he was to see so many white people, did not participate today as originally planned.
So I was left today scratching my head. The tone of Beck’s rally was primarily a religious one and Lawdy knows black folk do love their religion. So why didn’t they feel welcome at Beck’s event? And why were there so few whites at Sharpton’s event? Well it certainly didn’t help to have folks like Tom Joyner giving out the love so exclusively.
Gang, in the early days of color TV, the announcer would say “this program is being brought to you in living color.” There’s no way the announcer would have said that about either of the rallies I watched today. Perhaps the racial divide in this country is like a case of national herpes. You can medicate it to minimize the flare-ups but you can’t cure it.