Saturday, January 22, 2011

Why does Glenn Beck insist on getting Niemoller's famous poem wrong?

-- by Dave

Glenn Beck has a history of appropriating Martin Niemoller's famous poem, "First They Came..." -- one of the most memorable descriptions of the creep of Nazi totalitarianism -- for his own purposes, often by way of describing his own self-martyrdom, because of course it's really about people like him:

"You ever heard of the old poem 'first they came for the Jews'? Well, first they came for the banks, then it was the insurance companies, then it was the car companies."

"First they came for the Jews and I stayed silent-- next I'll show you the very latest attacks on me ..."

He was at it again on Thursday, declaring that attempts to confront his penchant for violent rhetoric and its effects on the public were an evil attempt to silence and persecute poor Glenn:

BECK: But the pink symbol should be a lesson to everyone. I don't care what you are, who you are -- everyone!

"At first they came for the Jews, and I didn't say anything. And then they came --"

Silence equals death. Never -- never allow someone to take away your First Amendment right of free speech. It's number one for a reason! Because that's the most important -- your right to assemble, your right to speak out! It's Number One. Guard it. Protect it. Revel in it. Responsibly share it.

Of course, that's the issue, isn't it? Not that anyone wants to take away Beck's rights to free speech -- but they are concerned because he is so profoundly irresponsible with his abuse of his media megaphone to demonize and smear other people and indulge eliminationist rhetoric against his "progressive" nemeses.

But it's really quite revealing that Beck NEVER gets Niemoller's poem right. There are a number of different versions with slight variations, but the most common is this one:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists ,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

The first two victim groups cited were Communists and trade unionists. Both of whom happen to be groups high on Glenn Beck's list of groups he likes to demonize.

Indeed, for most his tenure at Fox we've been hearing about how President Obama is eeeevil because he's "surrounding himself" with "dedicated Communists" like Van Jones:

And of course, someday, he warns, we ordinary liberals are going to have to take those Communists out by "shooting them in the head".

Maybe that's why Glenn Beck never can get Niemoller's poem right: It really is about people like him.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

No comments: