Sharpton: Beck Equating Tea Party Movement to Civil Rights Struggle ‘Really Offensive’

By Melanie Arter | June 27, 2013 | 12:08pm EDT

Rev. Al Sharpton, host of MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation" (AP Photo)

( – Rev. Al Sharpton on Thursday called it “really offensive” for conservative talk show host Glenn Beck to compare the Tea Party movement to the civil rights movement.

“I’ve been in civil rights all my life … and to equate civil rights to fighting these issues that have nothing to do with any rights that are denied, and it’s all about their polarization. It’s really offensive. I mean we can disagree, but we don’t miscast things as something that it’s not,” Sharpton said on MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation.”

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Sharpton, a civil rights leader, said he was youth director for the organization that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. founded and he had been involved in it ever since.

Sharpton showed a clip of Beck saying, “This is a civil rights movement, and it’s time for us to start moving as a civil rights movement. We have to be willing to have the dogs be unleashed on us, because believe me – after what I saw today on the way they’re handling things at the Capitol, you’re not very far from having the same kind of oppression coming our way.”

“It’s unbelievable! He’s talking about imaginary unleashed dogs when the real heroes of the civil rights movement actually had to confront those dangers,” Sharpton said.

At last week’s Tea Party’s IRS rally, Beck made his case, Sharpton said, “but even as he talked about civil rights, the slogans on the signs told the story of fear and paranoia.”

“It was similar to what we saw at previous Tea Party rallies, where this historic president was compared to a tyrant, accused of having a hit list. None of it slowed Beck down,” Sharpton added.

“Harriet Beecher Stowe, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglass’s time was in the 1800s. Martin Luther King’s time has passed. This is our time, and the long march towards civil rights is here,” Beck said at the rally.

Sharpton, in response to Beck’s statement that “Dr. King’s time has passed,” said it was “just the opposite.”

“His dream lives on in battles over voting rights and women’s rights and gay rights and economic justice – all things that the far right has tried to block, obstruct, or roll back,” Sharpton said.

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