Monday, January 19, 2009

The Reverend and the President-Elect

by Dick Mac

The most important similarity between Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama is not the color of the skin, even though that is the primary reason that I or anyone else would compare them, but the fact that they were both community organizers.

As you may remember, community organizers were denigrated by Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin last Autumn. They forget that people like John Adams, Jeanne d'Arc, and Jesus Christ were community organizers.

During the last election, the slime that has overtaken the Republican Party (Giuliani, Palin, and the rest of the morning talk-show types) had nothing, so they poked fun at those more sophisticated, smarter, harder-working, better-looking, and more patriotic than them. (Has there ever been a less patriotic lot than the 21st-Century Republicans?)

Well, today is Martin Luther King Day in the United States, and tomorrow is the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States.

I have written about the two of them before: Sen. Barack Obama and The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and I have written about King's famous "I Have A Dream" speech. This is how the speech ends:

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Free at last, King exclaims. You can tell that 1963 was a simpler time.

Freedom is intrinsically connected to economic policy.

Twenty years after King's speech, Americans made a decision to subscribe to supply-side economic theory. We were promised by the supply-siders that freedom would ring through our economy. Personally, I insisted the opposite would happen, that it was all a house of cards, that it would lead to corporate slavery for all Americans. Some of us did speak-out against Reagen, and now we have a nation of middle-aged (35-45) people who think Reagan was a good president and that he saved our economy and that all the problems are because of the liberals.

Today, a conservative like Martin Luther King, Jr. would be silenced by fake conservatives (fascists?) like Giuliani, Palin, Rupert Murdoch, George Bush, Dick Cheney, and the other unAmerican criminals who've dismantled the Constitution and left our economy a shambles.

King would be branded a liberal, and community organizer, and probably a socialist, and the media would not air his speeches, they would focus on his sex-life and his alcohol consumption, and they would smear his name to stop his ideas. His ideas of freedom and equality.

Thank God that Dr. King had his time to speak, because today we would silence him. Although he was a conservative, his ideas would interrupt the notions of supply-side economic theory and that is not acceptable to those who would wrangle our nation's resources for themselves and their small coterie of friends.

Is Obama's election a logical extension of King's legacy? No. Not really. They both had brown skin, and Obama's alleged liberalism is similar to King's mid-Century conservatism, but Obama's adherence to supply-side economic theory is the antithesis of King's hope for freedom and equality.

I will not be participating in Obama's inauguration tomorrow. I have too much work to do, I know too many homosexuals who are still denied equality by people like Obama, and although I am thrilled that a man with brown skin has been elected, I am not so happy about his ideas for our economy (if, actually, he has any ideas beyond continuing the current mess).

Happy birthday, Dr. King.

You can see a transcript of King's "I Have A Dream" speech here.

1 comment:

AKA Ted Faigle said...

Community Organizer is the new Black.

From the second I heard Sarah Palin's turn of the phrase at the GOP freak show convention it was clear to me as it was to her moronic devotees. This was the neo-con's latest attempt to smear city-fied black people without sounding overtly racist. White suburbanites, exurbanites and rural folk never heard the term before. Their communities don't need organizing. They have fences and gates and guards and shotguns and dogs to keep the hoi palloi out.