THERE'S A huge war going on in America today, one that in some ways trumps the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan. And the significance of this war continues to grow.
On one front, in Washington, the pushback from Capitol Hill Republicans who are rooting for President Obama's administration to fail, is nothing short of repulsive.
Today, as the Senate debates extending unemployment benefits to millions of out-of-work Americans, sensible in both human and economic terms, conservative pundits like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck continue to fan the flames against the poor and unemployed, many whose desperate circumstances are not their own fault.
Meanwhile, class divisions are widening, and if the economy continues in its downward spiral, soon there may be very little left of the middle class.
It was only a year ago that angry and hostile tea partiers launched a series of demonstrations across the country, in what inevitably became their futile attempts to sabotage the president's efforts to reform health-care coverage for America.
Now, a year later, these hostile naysayers have turned up the heat even higher, taking particular aim at immigration reform.
AS YOU can imagine, I recoil whenever I run across any of the angry conservatives who dominate right-wing radio - but when I hear the name of radio and TV talker Glenn Beck, my ears really curl.
He's certainly a smooth-talking shock-jock. Entertaining? Sure, if you like overinflated, egotistical clowns. (And a relentless capitalist to boot.)
But despite the fact that his diatribes seem to be directed at his fellow tea partiers, Beck is in reality more of a self-serving salesman hawking anything and everything from his broadcast stronghold, including high-priced dinner auctions for his wife's lasagna. OK, perhaps there really are some people who'd actually enjoy being helicoptered to the Beck estate in Connecticut to dine with his family. But for $75,000?
And, while Beck urges his listeners to "form a covenant with God, based on the qualities of faith, hope and charity," why would he want to dishonor the date of the great March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his historic "I Have a Dream" speech?
Beck, as we know, is well informed about so many things, so how could he possibly "forget" that Aug. 28, the day he's planning to host his "Restoring Honor" rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, is the 47th anniversary of that historic day when hundreds of thousands gathered in the nation's capital to call for jobs and economic opportunity?
At a time when unemployment is at such a high, with 15 million Americans unemployed, Beck's level of hostility toward people who aren't white, male, Christian and rich is more than a little bit unseemly.
And it's clearly escalated since President Obama took office. His cheap shots at the first family, including daughter Malia, who's only 11, included the moment a few months ago when he crudely imitated her talking to her dad about the Gulf oil spill. That was inexcusable, despite the lame apology that came only after he received blistering criticism from across the country. Does this sound like a man who actually fears and loves God?
To me, Beck and the conservative family values that he pretends to represent are just more of the same from the Republican playbook that helped former President George W. Bush sink the nation's economy - creating the huge mess he left behind for Obama to clean up.
Bush smiled and tried to charm Americans all through every one of his fumbles - but in the end he and his party wrecked our economy.
Beck is apparently cut from the same cloth.
At one point, he even intended to charge an entrance fee to demonstrate in Washington on Aug. 28, and has been selling the event to sponsors and hawking T-shirts for it on the air, with the proceeds to benefit the children of slain U.S. soldiers.
If true, that's admirable, but in my house we see that as merely a fig leaf for all the negative things Beck is responsible for.
And the ultimate insult?
There's actually a blogger out there suggesting a Beck-Palin presidential ticket in 2012!
Fatimah Ali is a regular contributor to the Daily News, and blogs about food at healthysoutherncomforts.com.