A few days ago, fellow MOMocrat Jaelithe forwarded all of us a story about Glenn Beck's involvement in fundraising for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. While at first glance this sounds pretty benign, it turns out that SOWF is using tax free donations to the organization to pay for Glenn Beck's latest rally at the Lincoln Memorial.
As someone who is heavily involved in another non-profit organization dedicated to helping military families, I was absolutely floored that SOWF would align itself with such a polarizing individual and possibly put its non-profit status at risk by participating in a rally with Glenn Beck.
Make no mistake, the event is billed as a rally. And while the donation page for the event touts its compliance with IRS regulations and claims to be non-partisan, I find it difficult, if not impossible, to believe that politics will not be a part of any "rally" with Glenn Beck. This is, after all, the man who seems to have dedicated his professional life to stamping out pretty much everything Democrats and progressives stand for.
I was also disturbed because my husband, who recently retired from the Navy after 20 years of active duty and reserve service, works for a small government contractor that donates to SOWF. My husband and I are both horrified that he may be indirectly working to benefit a charity that aligns itself with the venom-spewing Glenn Beck; a charity that apparently has no problem alienating some of the very people it purports to support, if they happen to be progressives.
While researching this very disturbing topic, I discovered that a friend and fellow military spouse was already all over Glenn Beck and his shady fundraising activities. So without further ado, please welcome guest poster Angela Jean.
I am a military wife.
Each of you will already have a picture in your mind of a woman holding small children while embracing her husband as he heads out to war.
She will be holding back tears and one of the children will be clutching her leg, while holding an American Flag.
In reality, we know that the pictures are more diverse, that simplicity can’t define a military wife. But in our minds, the image is imprinted along side these words:
Pride, Honor, Sacrifice, Dedication, and Strength
Now, imagine those words being used to describe Glenn Beck.
How do you feel? Disgusted? Incredulous? Angry?
Maybe you understand how I feel.
Glenn Beck, standing beside widows of Special Operations Troops and Veterans from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, will stand at the base of Abraham Lincoln's feet to address the American people on August 28, 2010, the anniversary of Dr. King's I have a dream... speech. He calls the event “Restoring Honor.”
Standing before him will be a sea of Americans. They will all have something in common. All will be conservative to the core and will have traveled side by side with other Tea Partiers and 9/12ers, Oath Keepers and Secessionists. All will claim to be non-partisan, though they lie on the same end of the political spectrum.
Beck has a plan. It is actually called "The Plan," and it will address the course of our nation for the next 100 years. Like other malcontents before him, he believes he knows what is best for his own nation.
Beck has chosen his stage well. He has the backing of Abraham Lincoln to remind all citizens that America is worth fighting for. To reinforce this image, Mr. Beck has invited a military affiliated charity, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, to stand by his side. But the charity won’t only serve as a symbol of our honorable military, they won’t only provide the guest speakers, they will serve as the primary fund raiser to back this unseemly drama.
Then entire situation would sound almost farcical if I didn’t know it to be true.
Beck, in the guise of the 9/12 Project, has reserved the Lincoln Memorial on this very special Saturday. September of last year, he began to make announcements of an exclusive event taking place that very day. By November, he planned to make 8/28 an event to release his book, “The Plan” and to culminate his “American Revival” Tour taking place this summer.
But by January of this year, he needed some way to fund this extravaganza. He announced the $2 million dollar price tag on his radio show. He claimed he didn’t want any corporation to benefit from the fund raising so he would use a veteran’s charity to do so.
Let the fundraising begin!
Tax-free donations will fund my rally!
Any excess will be left to help the families of wounded Special Operators travel to their wounded family member’s bedside or pay for the college scholarship of a child left behind. To make sure an excess exists, SOWF is looking for ways to save funds – they are asking for companies to discount and donate goods to support this “honorable” event in the name of their charity. No need to mention Beck.
If you are like me, you will see several problems with this scenario. You will ask yourself, isn’t there a law that prevents this? Charities are not to raise funds outside of their stated mission. Charities are not to raise funds for the benefit of a private enterprise. Unfortunately, neither the charity nor Glenn Beck believes this law applies.
According to the Executive Director, Steve McLeary, the event will definitely honor the troops. The event will also be non-partisan. I imagine he hears this Beck message to back his claim:
I know that the bipartisan corruption in Washington that has brought us to this brink and it will not be defeated easily. It will require unconventional thinking and a radical plan to restore our nation to the maximum freedoms we were supposed to have been protecting, using only the battlefield of ideas.
Glenn Beck is fighting both sides – Republicans and Democrats alike, so of course, he’s not partisan.
Furthermore, McLeary would like us to think that politics will not be the focus of the “Restoring Honor” rally. Then we read on Glenn Beck’s website:
The current crop of clowns running things in D.C. rarely look to the Founders for inspiration. President Obama gets his inspiration from himself apparently, as he reportedly has pictures (not of founders) but of himself all over the White House. Perhaps that explains why no one has figured out how to get America's ducks in a row - they've forgotten how we got here. Glenn is on a mission to remind people with the Restoring Honor Rally at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on 8/28.And this stuff is mild. We know that Beck has called President Obama a racist; we know that he daily compares the administration to socialists, communists, and fascists, in order to incite the hatred of the conservative right. He and other political pundits of Fox News are doing a good job. The Southern Poverty Law Center sites a 244% increase in anti-government groups:
Anti government "Patriot" groups - militias and other extremist organizations that see the federal government as their enemy - came roaring back to life over the past year after more than a decade out of the limelight.
These groups are a large portion of Glenn Beck’s fan base. And they will appear when he calls for a rally, whether we call it political or not.
Today’s military is a diverse group of folks. The radical right would like us to believe that they are conservative to the core. Well, they are misinformed. I know many a military family that would call themselves progressive. And I am sure that among the Special Operators of our Armed Forces, we have men and women who identify with something other than Glenn Beck’s ideology of America. I am even sure that we have a few progressives among the ranks.
Do you remember hearing what Glenn Beck said about progressives a few weeks ago?
Progressivism is the cancer in America and it is eating our Constitution. And it was designed to eat the Constitution...It must be cut out of the system because they cannot co-exist. And you don't cure cancer by - well, I'm just going to give you a little bit of cancer. You must eradicate it. Where did the progressives go; where did they come from? All of a sudden, I'm not a liberal, I'm a progressive...Every time they wake America up to their policies, they have to change their names...They're running out of names.
Maybe you are beginning to understand my concern. I am a progressive. I am also a proud military wife. God forbid that my husband comes home wounded from war, but if he did, how could I turn to a charity in my greatest time of need when that charity stands beside the likes of Glenn Beck? The charity is compromising the very military/civilian partnership that our Founders very thoughtfully put in place for a very good reason. Wounded warriors should not have to face a political conundrum when they turn for help.
The staff and the Board of Directors of Special Operations Warrior Foundation, Republicans to the core, have placed their politics before their charity. They have decided that their vote, that their opinion, their political identity, should come before the very mission of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
Perhaps they need to remember a few words:
Pride, Honor, Sacrifice, Dedication, and Strength
Angela Jean describes herself as a military wife, home school mom of two wonderful sons, graduate of UC Berkeley and proud progressive activist. You can also read her diaries on Daily Kos about this issue.