One month from today, one of the most offensive and egregious public relations stunts ever foisted upon the American people will take place on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck conduct their "Restoring Honor Rally".
What makes this particular Tea Party rally so offensive is that Palin and Beck are purposefully stirring up simmering racial hatred by holding their despicable charade on the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. King's speech, as most American school children are still taught in history classes, was one of the nation's highwater marks, a call for racial equality and social reform.
King's speech, which was witnessed by more than 200,000 people on the National Mall, historically has been regarded as the pinnacle of the civil rights movement, which eventually ended the segregation of public schools in the South and established voting rights for people of color. Along side of Lincoln's own "Gettysburg Address", it stands as one of the most stirring and important rhetorical moments in the history of the nation.
U.S. Representative John Lewis (D.-Ga.) also spoke that day at the Lincoln Memorial as president of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. Later recalling King's most famous moment, he said: "Dr. King had the power, the ability, and the capacity to transform those steps on the Lincoln Memorial into a monumental area that will forever be recognized. By speaking the way he did, he educated, he inspired, he informed not just the people there, but people throughout America and unborn generations."
Beck and Palin's appropriation of August 28th to hold their rally is no accident. Both of them know this date resonates for people of color and for Democrats, who enjoy a heavy advantage in their voter ranks among people of color. They know race will play a huge factor in the 2010 mid-term elections. They know this will cause glee and play to the vile sentiments of their most conservative supporters, who still bristle at the election of the nation's first African-American president.
While Rupert Murdoch's Fox News castigates the NAACP as "racists" and smear Shirley Sherrod with lies and fabrications, Beck and Palin are doing all they can to play the racism card before the November elections.
Is there even one level-headed, morally outraged Republican who will call this rally what it is: a disgraceful attempt to bait African Americans into a civil disturbance and start a race war?
If Jim Gerlach wants to win the hearts and minds of moderate Chester County Republicans and registered Democrats who are unhappy with the direction the nation is going, now would be a good time to call out Palin and Beck. Would he lose support among the most conservative members who support him? If he's smart, he would say: "Good riddance."
Now, more than ever, his party needs a fresh new voice. The race baiters are running the show.