In an internal memo sent to 4,000 federal employees, Education Secretary Arne Duncan urged government workers to attend a rally led by Rev. Al Sharpton on 8/28. Sharpton's rally was originally billed as a commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, but was filled with politicized rhetoric aimed at countering the large crowds gathered at conservative Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally on the National Mall.
According to the Washington Examiner, a Department of Ed employee came forward with the email because they felt uncomfortable with Duncan's request:
Although the e-mail does not violate the Hatch Act, which forbids federal employees from participating in political campaigns, Education Department workers should feel uneasy, said David Boaz, executive vice president of the libertarian Cato Institute.
"It sends a signal that activity on behalf of one side of a political debate is expected within a department. It's highly inappropriate ... even in the absence of a direct threat," Boaz said. "If we think of a Bush cabinet official sending an e-mail to civil servants asking them to attend a Glenn Beck rally, there would be a lot of outrage over that."
Meanwhile, black leaders who attended Beck's rally are coming out of the woodwork and condemning Sharpton for his divisive rhetoric. CNSNews.com reports:
Franz Kebreau, national director of the National Association for the Advancement of Conservative People of All Colors (NAACPC), told CNSNews.com that a counter-rally led by Rev. Al Sharpton, also on Saturday in Washington, D.C., was really a disservice to the slain civil rights leader.
“[Beck] is actually extending the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., which is fantastic,” Kebreau said. “You know, Al Sharpton should be here. This is where he should be. We’re trying to create a unifying effect, and create a unity.
“We would love for him [Sharpton] to be here because we’re honoring Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Kebreau. “We’re honoring Frederick Douglass. We’re honoring the idea of looking at people based on the content of their character, and not the color of their skin."