Tallk show host Glenn Beck has said that he wants to “reclaim the civil rights movement.” He said the movement is unrecognizable because it has been “so distorted and so turned upside down.” Beck claims to be carrying on the legacy Martin Luther King, Jr.
In fact, Dr. King was a proponent of the social welfare programs that Beck and other conservatives despise. For this and for his opposition to the Vietnam war, King was incorrectly labeled a communist by many. Read the quotes below from Martin Luther King, Jr., and decide who is distorting the facts:
I want to say to you as I move to my conclusion, as we talk about “Where do we go from here,” that we honestly face the fact that the movement must address itself to the question of restructuring the whole of American society. There are forty million poor people here. And one day we must ask the question, “Why are there forty million poor people in America?” And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy.
- Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., August 16, 1967 (Full text: http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/45a/628.html)
It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor -- both black and white -- through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated, as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So, I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.
… I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin...we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. … A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. … True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.
... A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, "This is not just."
… A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.
-Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. April 4, 1967. (Full text: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkatimetobreaksilence.htm)