Glenn Beck recently attacked the National Gray Panthers in his Fox TV broadcast Sept. 28, implying they, along with other organizations supporting the One Nation Working Together March in Washington DC on Oct. 2, were "dangerous revolutionaries, communists, and socialists." The evidence he offered for this off-the-wall and completely false characterization of the Panthers was the their slogan, "People Over Profits." He sneeringly repeated it twice as if it were an evil phrase akin to someone saying, for instance, "Let's invade Canada."
Nasty as this was intended to be, the Panthers really are grateful to Mr. Beck for stressing (though contemptuously) a vision they are so proud of. Yes, they put people before profits. They fight for more affordable health care, which would cut into the obscene profits of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. They fight to end the catastrophic wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which would reduce the profits of the arms manufacturers and potential profits of the oil companies while keeping people alive. They fight to keep Social Security from being privatized, thereby slashing the profits Wall Street would hope to make at people's expense. These are just a few of the many battles the Panthers wage on behalf of citizens young and old.
Watching Beck's broadcast was a truly bizarre experience. To attempt to prove his contention that the slogan, "People Over Profits," was indicative of a Communist stance, he dragged out before the camera a tiny pamphlet dating back to 1981 which also stated the phrase, and which was printed by the U.S. Communist Party. One wonders how many thousands of times that phrase has been written and shouted over the years by thousands of people representing many different organizations -- middle-of-the-road groups, very likely, or even occasionally, dare it be said, conservative ones?
Beck's broadcast was crazy in other respects, too -- no surprise, of course. He followed his diatribe against the Gray Panthers by disdainfully emphasizing the word ALL in their mission statement, "Working for social and economic justice and peace for ALL people," implying that justice and peace should only be an option for some. Who would Glenn Beck leave out? This is indeed a dangerous man!
Despite poisonous right-wing fanatics like Glenn Beck, however, the Panthers are resolute in their dedication to the very principles he disparages, "working to create a society that puts the needs of people over profit, responsibility over power and democracy over institutions."