Martin Luther King
The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.
Tomorrow, America honors the birthday of heroic civil rights activist Martin Luther King. Americans revere King across the political and ethnic spectrum for his wisdom, idealism, courage and practice of non-violent civil disobedience against the forces of racial oppression. Thanks in large part to the trailblazing efforts of King and his followers; America inaugurates its first black president the very next day when Barack Obama takes the oath of office on January 20th. Yet even as Americans celebrate the historical arc from Martin Luther King to Barack Obama, the scars of racial injustice remain woven into our country’s fabric.
Posted with permission of Nicholas Benton, owner/editor of the Falls Church News Press.
Back to the Mountaintop
by Nick Benton
The delayed fulfillment of a dream interrupted by assassins' bullets in 1968 was realized 40 years later with the resounding and epochal victory of President-elect Barack Obama this week.
The back-to-back assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King and presidential hopeful Robert Kennedy in the spring of 1968 put the struggle for racial, social and economic justice on a long, slow march. But when the self-serving machinations of the worst opponents of those hopes began to break down in the last four years, the world discovered that the spirit was still alive, as it burst forth into the most magnificent explosion of the highest of human aspirations perhaps ever seen.
The campaign of Barack Obama was the perfect vehicle for this profound resurgence, the man's evident gifts to inspire and motivate underpinned by a humble personal background, razor sharp intellect, and a body language of quiet resolve, commitment to the public good, and confidence.
When the infamous Rev. Wright sound bites began to dominate world news, I like many Americans really cringed. It was not only that his remarks were jarring--"Could he really believe that killing two thousand innocent Americans was just retribution for......... for anything?" I asked myself. And so on, and on and on and on as the news media relentlessly repeated the same story line.
Today as we celebrate the memory and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., millions of Americans will reflect on the impact his life had. That impact, for many, is very personal. There is much for which to be grateful in the gifts of hope and justice that he left behind. For me there was a speech that was particularly transforming. It was his public entry into the anti-war movement, Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence. As a twelve year old peace activist and an aspiring artist, one sentence stood out and helped to shape the next 40 years of my life:
"We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative means of protest possible."
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The Internet's Chronicle Of Media Decay.
Is Obama making a courageous test of the moral fiber of the country by running, or is he pig-headedly ignoring the "fact" that a Black person is still not electable for the nation's highest office? Can he bring the Democratic Party to Victory or is he ensuring its defeat. This is the provocative question posed by Eugene Robinson's commentary Disappointment Doesn’t Have to Be Normal.
IMO the choice would indeed seem different if Obama were not such a middle-of-the road candidate.Following excertps from Robinson's post, I have provided a link to an interview John Lewis on the history of the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King's vision which he shares.