Monday, January 17, 2011
King's Dream is Still Relevant for Today's Nightmares
Here it is, the United States once again takes the day off to honor Martin Luther King’s birthday. It’s been almost 43 years since James Earl Ray gunned him down on a Memphis motel balcony. Ronald Reagan signed legislation in 1983 to establish Martin Luther King’s birthday, January 15th as a Federal Holiday. The date of the celebration was changed to the third Monday of January to be consistent with the Uniform Holiday Act. After all, no matter how solemn the occasion, holidays should be Mondays to facilitate long weekends and big sales at the malls and car dealerships which thankfully haven’t become crass enough to call them MLK Day Blow Out Sales or whatever. Instead they obscure the observance all together by often calling them, “post holiday” sales.
Scoundrels will give a nod to Doctor King even when every ounce of their effort seems contrary to King’s vision. Once again, the scary little man comes into focus. Glenn Beck in his pompous pseudo sincerity gave MLK a salute today on his broadcast attempting to tie together all kinds of arcane historical references. Yes, this is the same self-pitying twerp who enlisted Sarah Palin to help stage a rally for the terminally white folk at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28th, the anniversary of King’s miraculous history changing rally held on that spot in 1963.
Beck can say whatever he will about the commonality of all Americans or what a good person MLK was. The rest of his narrative says otherwise. In Beck’s world, there was a political Garden of Eden back at the beginning of the 19th century when the young Republic of the United States was guarded by the vision of its founding fathers. There was no visible black dissent because most Americans of African ancestry were slaves. The media was in the north east and totally blind to the black experience. People like Beck and Palin believe in the mythology of these wonderful stark white people who were all good Christians and Jesus Christ whispered in their ears on how to live the perfect life until the 7th President, Andrew Jackson, started taking things in a new direction. Across the Atlantic, all kinds of bad things were brewing. Some sixty years into the century, Abraham Lincoln came along and freed the slaves, so black people were all so happy to be free so they could sing spirituals, bake corn bread, and eat lots of pig and chicken products. They had their little plots of land, and America was still a good place.
Oh-oh, around the turn of the next century, something bad happened, these evil progressives came along and both openly and secretly started to take over every thing. Women were told not to be good happy wives any longer, but to organize and vote. They started stirring up the black folk and oops, they started to want what white people had. Very bad people were doing very bad things because they were bad people – oh my, that idyllic word Beck and Palin thought America was in 1800 was gone. (Hmm, could it be that Mr. Beck and Mrs. Palin aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer – what was that industrial revolution and the influx of populations from overseas and rural America to the big cities all about – oh immigrants – BAD PEOPLE.)
After World War II, so much happened so quickly. President Truman desegregated the military much like today we rid “don’t ask don’t tell.” Oh the horrors of squeaky clean bleached white people should serve side by side with those coloreds. A great black lawyer, Thurgood Marshall, took a case against the Topeka Board of Education to the Supreme Court (probably directed by communists that McCarthy hadn’t caught yet given the historical time it happened). Under Chief Justice Earl Warren the court ordered an end to segregated schools. Later in the 1950’s, Rosa Park refused to sit in the back of the bus in Birmingham, Alabama, and soon young blacks would take seats at lunch counters where only white people were supposed to sit. There were uproars in Baltimore at North Wood Plaza, the cities new fancy shopping center and Reads drug store at Howard and Lexington Street. The young Martin Luther King from the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta began his march through out the Deep South facing guns and violence to set the oppressed people free.
Yes, a lot of progressives were involved, but so were lots of other Americans. King’s points were overwhelmingly true.
Nothing a charlatan and a little toady like Glenn Beck has to say has any relevance to the day we should honor.
So where have things gone since King died. Brutal riots broke out right after his death. White populations exited big cities in droves fearful of the “dangerous” neighborhoods. Left behind without the middle class, cities turned into cesspools of suffering with horrible schools, drugs on every corner, and nightly shootings.
In the last quarter of the 20th century the new segregation was based more on zip code than race officially, but the consequences are largely the same, blacks are all too often forced to deal with second class public accommodations where the public schools, once a powerful tool of liberation, became breeding grounds of dysfunction.
Many civil rights leaders like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton because racial hucksters using race as an issue to capitalize on suffering while solving nothing.
While Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice became the first and second black secretaries of state, somehow the election of Barack Hussein Obama seems like an ironic corruption of King’s dream. While like so many “black” people, he is a multiracial person, but he has no connection whatsoever to the struggle Dr. King fought. He has no ancestral connection to slavery and the evils black Americans could not overcome for decades. The dream is perverted once again by an Ivy League elitist who does not talk from the people but down to the people.
Doctor King spoke of the “content of one’s character” being what really matters. Especially in light of the cowardly cynical political attacks that came out of the Tucson tragedy, many prominent politicians and media members find the content of their character running on empty.
Doctor King has been gone for 43 years. His work must continue…