Tuesday’s Glenn Beck show had the conspiracy-seeker-in-chief go after Marcellus Owens, the young man who lost his mom to cancer ostensibly because of a lack of health care. The fifth-grader at Seattle’s Orca K-8 school has been campaigning for changes in the health-care system since his mother died after she fell ill and lost her job and insurance coverage. He was 7 at the time.

Now I suppose we can say we shouldn’t use kids to advance an agenda because it is unseemly or because how can a kid understand complicated issues like SCHIP or health care, for godsakes…you know, like us grown-ups understand all the points about the health care bill. Doh! Putting a face on issues moves it out of the head and into reality and makes people who are on the opposite side of an issue start ranting and raving, as Beck (and Limbaugh and Malkin) did this week. They focused on the messenger and not the message. The right-wing seems to focus more on process rather than on substance. I suppose it’s more fun to do this because the message is more controllable. It is another case of the argument between abstract versus the concrete. The bottom line in any legislation is what the legislation will do or not do.

Marcellus Owens

So onto the noisy stage of obstinacy over procedure walks young Marcellus Owens, who quietly puts his hand up for silence and tells his story about his mom, her illness and her untimely death. He put a face on why health care needs revision and improvement. How many stories have we heard like his? They alone would take up more column space than I have allotted for this. Within a short period of time, the right wing smear machine was in full swing (Remember the swift boating of Graeme Frost who tried to get President Bush to reverse his veto of SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program. The many lies concocted to slur the young man and his family were eventually proved bogus). So many dissonant voices come out of the wood work when Glenn starts the ball rolling.

I really shouldn’t give him the space here but I was moved to by the arguments he used to try and shut down the youngster’s story. He started his tirade by saying that Marcellus’ trip had been paid for by Health Care for America Now and added spitefully that it was a “George Soros sponsored” endeavor. Every time Fox (and I cannot in good conscience call it “News”) mentions George Soros, it is as if he is the evil wizard out to bring down the Republic. I’m not sure where Beck or Fox were when the vicious and lying attacks on John Kerry came fast and furious out of the ether. Oh, that’s right, Beck hates the socialist democrats who are Maoists and nazis including everything they stand for, like social justice and human rights. More about this in a moment.

Beck goes on his show to attack the Marcellus Owens tactic and to focus on some of his pet peeves. He hates words like, collective responsibility, shared community, social justice and something he calls a “truly democratic society.” His rants against all of these topics is so antithetical to what it means to be an American in a free society. I am not sure what has happened to him, but it sounds as if he has become so insulated and so myopic that I wonder if he would recognize the reality of true patriotism even if it bit him on his arse. I’m not sure what happened to his theology or his sane world view, but it is gone. He truly is the poster boy for the erratic tea-party movement, a group of insulated, selfish, out of touch and frankly un-American folks, with bogus flag waving, Hitler moustache-ing preaching their “grass roots” formulation as if they actually speak for the “common man.” They are tools of Dick Armey and his agenda-bundled PAC groups. Sadly they don’t even know it. And Glenn and Fox wring their hands over Soros?? Give me a break! (More on the “Ts” at a latter date.)

Beck spits out the phrases like shared community, social justice and collective responsibility as if these terms are bad, very bad. I believe, like most sane people that we do have a collective responsibility toward our fellow Americans, to help where help is needed and challenge where challenge is called for. Marcellus story should touch us all and collectively and we need to respond to it, not by denigrating the democratic party or him for the situation that helped him tell his story, but the story itself. How can I help stop these unjust situations from happening? How as an American does my collective responsibility and sense of social justice call me to action? How about you? This action is not just for myself, but for my neighbor as well. We are all Americans living in an imperfect democratic society that needs a lot of work by us. Without this collective responsibility and sense of justice, what are we, Glenn? Me first, all the time?

I feel sorry for Glenn and the people of his ilk. They need help, they need us to call them out on their myopic vision of this great country of ours. I am not sure what his particular brand of Christianity teaches him. I cannot believe that it would teach pure selfishness. So I am not sure where he is getting his ideas and beliefs, perhaps the mirror. Even seculars believe in a community who all pull together for a common cause, freedom and justice for all. Marcellus needs to tell his story. We need to hear his story. We need to act. Freedom demands our collective responsibility. Equality demands our collective responsibility. It is a responsibility which is light when it’s easy, and very heavy when it is not. But when it is very hard, that responsibility is needed most and proves the patriotism of the citizen. It is inconvenient, Glenn, but it is very American.

Oh, and Glenn, China is known as the “People’s Republic of China” not the “Socialist Republic of China” as you mentioned on your side show. I know its a small point, but you seem to love small points.