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September 1, 2010
Why did the Rev. Al Sharpton oppose Beck's rally?
As expected, Glenn Beck's 8/28 "Restoring Honor" rally sent the leftist media and their spokespeople into a state of frenzied incoherence. The rally was framed as "controversial," before a single word was uttered. The rally had to be a racist event because it was scheduled at the Lincoln Memorial on the 47th anniversary of MLK's "I have a dream" speech.
Among the far-left critics, the Rev. Al Sharpton provides a clear window into leftist thinking on the matter. According to Sharpton, the rally was a "distortion" of King's speech because conservatives like Beck really don't understand what King's speech was about.
You see, King was an advocate for federal involvement in race issues and inasmuch as Beck and conservatives are for smaller federal government, their position is antithetical to King's march.
After the media narrative had been set, that Beck's rally was set to be a bigoted, racist event, Sharpton told Keith Olberman that he didn't even have to "get to race," to show that Beck and current conservatives "are against the concept of what [MLK] was about in '63."
In other words, Sharpton didn't have to directly call Beck a "racist;" the fact that he's against big federal government proves that he's a racist.
Sharpton referred to Beck's event as an anti-government rally advocating states' rights. On C-SPAN, the misguided reverend went so far as to say that:
The structural breakdown of a strong national government, which is what they're calling for, is something that does not serve the interests of the nation and it's something that Dr. King and others fought against . . . .
It is ironic to me that they come on the day of a speech where Dr. King appealed for a strong government to protect civil rights and they're going to the site of Abraham Lincoln who saved the union against the state rebellion . . . .
I think I can safely speak for conservatives and Tea Party members everywhere in saying that conservatives are not calling for the "structural breakdown of a strong national government." Conservatives are calling for the return of the federal government to the boundaries of the U.S. Constitution. We currently have a structural breakdown caused by the federal government exceeding its constitutional limits.
Conservatives actually want a "strong national government" in the short-list of areas delegated to the federal government by the Constitution.
Turns out that enforcing the protections of the Civil War (Reconstruction) Amendments (13th, 14th and 15th), comes under the full purview of the federal government. In other words, preventing racial discrimination is an area in which the federal government actually has jurisdiction. Last time I checked, blacks currently enjoy equal protection under law. But if the unequal treatment of blacks suddenly breaks out in a random state, conservatives believe in a strong national government to protect constitutional rights.
I tend to think Sharpton is smart enough to know what conservatives are actually calling for: A limited federal government based on the Constitution. That means a strong federal government in the areas delegated to the central government. The flip side means no federal involvement in areas reserved to the states and the people (like general affairs of healthcare, education, religious expression, etc.).
But the Sharptons of the Left are also smart enough to know that liberal causes are advanced via the power of the federal government. Constitutional jurisdiction is not an issue of concern for liberals.
It's easier to cry "racist" in the furtherance of liberal policy through federal demagoguery than to have an honest, respectful debate on the constitutional role of the federal government.