"They would not listen, they're not listening still,
"Perhaps they never will." -- Don McLean, "Vincent"
Radio and TV commentator Glenn Beck was mentioned three times in separate opinion columns on the same day and in an article the next day in The New York Times, possibly a record for someone who does not hold elective office.
Oh, and then there's this week's Time magazine cover. He's everywhere. Beck is also the Left's latest explanation for what is wrong with America. Many on the Left believe that if conservatives would just get out of the way, shut up and allow liberals to re-create America in their image, we would all be better off. But those loud-mouthed cable TV and radio talk show hosts keep uneducated, God-worshipping, flag-waving, NASCAR-loving, country music-fueled trailer trash riled up and prevent their brave new world from being born.
The articles, essays and columns about Beck, and so many others on the Right, drip with the condescension conservatives have come to expect from liberal elites who think because they went to the "right" schools they are better than everyone else.
I had not met Glenn Beck, so last week I visited him in his high-rise Manhattan office. His walls are decorated with black-and-white photographs of people he clearly admires. There are entertainers like Red Skelton and a young filmmaker named Walt Disney. You could watch Skelton on TV and view Disney movies along with your wife and kids, knowing you'd never hear a bad word, including a bad word about America.
Beck has an old Admiral black-and-white TV an aide says they are trying to "make work." When it did work, it carried programs worth watching, including news broadcasts by real journalists like Edward R. Murrow, whose photo hangs on a wall close to Beck's office.
Is it Beck who is stirring the pot or has the pot been stirring for some time and it is he, and a few others, giving the masses a voice? Maybe it's the leadership vacuum in the country that has thrust Beck and Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin (1 million of his latest book sold) and others to the forefront. If Republicans were behaving like Republicans, perhaps there would be less perceived need for them.
If the Left bothered to hang out where conservatives do and take seriously their concerns about a country to which they pay taxes and for which many of them, or their parents, or children have fought, maybe they would understand what has so many upset.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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