Last night, Glenn Beck unveiled one of the new formats that he'll be using for his nightly television program, which has now changed its name from "The Glenn Beck Program" to simply "Glenn." Beck intends to have different formats for every night of the week and last night's program was the first of his "Think Tank" episodes in which he and several staff members sit around and discuss the news of the day.
They kicked things off by attacking President Obama for supposedly trashing America when he was on his recent trip to Laos, playing a clip of him saying that "America is not perfect. Look, it still has racial discrimination and it still has its own problems; it should worry about its own problems. And I agree with that."
"I can't take it," Beck said, as one of his staff members wondered what happened to Obama to make him hate America so much.
"He grew up, a lot of time, over there with a monkey and a parrot," Beck responded, "and then he moved over with his communist grandparents and the communist Frank Marshall Davis."
Beck's crew, of course, took Obama's comments wildly out of context.
If you bother to listen to what Obama actually said, he was saying that sometimes other people say America has no right to criticize the civil rights records of other nations because America still struggles with discrimination and its own problems. Obama agreed that we "still have problems we have to work on" but argued that "we have learned from our experience" and are seeking to overcome those issues:
And I'll be honest, everywhere we go, including here at ASEAN, sometimes people say, "Ah, why are the Americans talking about these issues? This is none of their business; they shouldn’t be meddling in other people's business. And also, America is not perfect. Look, it still has racial discrimination. It still has its own problems. It should worry about its own problems."
And I agree with that in the sense that we definitely do still have problems we have to work on. We still have discrimination, we still have situations where women are not treated equally. But I think that, over the long term, the only way that humans are going to be able to work together and interact and prosper and deal with big problems is if we are able to see what we have in common with each other, and treat everybody with dignity and respect. And that means that we have to have some principles that are not just based on our nationality, they're not just based on our tribe or our religion or our ethnicity. Otherwise, at some point we're not going to be able to get along, and we'll have more war and we'll have more conflict -- because that's been human history.
And this is why we talk about these issues when we travel to other countries, as well. It's not because we think we're better than other people, it's because we have learned from our own experience that if you don't respect all people, or you don’t respect all religions but also make sure that no matter how religious you are, you respect other people to have a different idea -- we've learned that if that doesn’t happen, then we have conflict.
And if you look at what's happening now in the Middle East, for example, that's not a -- the problem in the Middle East is not primarily a problem of the West versus Islam; the problem increasingly is, Shia thinking that Sunnis are following the wrong path, and vice versa. And in Syria, if you're an Alawite or you're a Christian, then you're worried about what the Sunni Muslims are going to do. And that -- the same in Africa, where-- a place like Rwanda, where in a matter of just a few months you saw a country kill hundreds of thousands of people just because of those differences. And that's been true in all parts of the world. So we have to fight against that. And that means that we have to be able to promote principles that rise above any individual religion, nationality, race. And that's what we've been trying to promote -- not always successfully. Not everybody in America agrees with me on this, by the way. I'll leave it at that.