Friday, May 16, 2008

Obama Should Speak Out For King

Michael Gerson writes about it in today’s Washington Post. Here are excerpts from his column followed by my comments below the star line.

Gerson says - --

As Barack Obama attempted to extricate himself from his 20-year association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, some Obama supporters claimed that Wright's anger is really not so different from King's -- that both preachers represent a distinguished tradition of African-American outrage. King, they said, was a radical in his own way, and his message should not be domesticated or diluted by conservatives. Before Wright was sacrificed to save Obama, King was sacrificed to explain Wright.

But this casual little historical crime -- committed for transient political reasons -- leaves lasting damage.

Like other American heroes -- Jefferson, for example, combined a disturbing tolerance for the violence of the French Revolution with the lifelong ownership of slaves -- King was not a simple figure. He inclined toward democratic socialism as the answer to poverty. In his opposition to the Vietnam War, he called America "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today" and thundered that God might "break the backbone" of American power.

Toward the end of his short life -- after years of water hoses and attack dogs, wiretaps and bomb threats -- King became increasingly isolated and depressed.

But King's distinctive contribution lies not in the outrage he felt but in the hope he offered -- a hope found in the application of American ideals, not in their denial or replacement. "When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence," King said, "they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. ... Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked 'insufficient funds.' But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt." . . .

It was the former slave Frederick Douglass who called the Constitution "a glorious liberty document" that could be used as an instrument of emancipation. Douglass was no moderate -- he argued that slaves justly could kill their masters, and financially supported John Brown -- but he affirmed that America's founding documents were the most powerful source of reform. As did Lincoln. As did King.

Under King's leadership, the civil rights movement affirmed several principles: a belief that Providence favors justice and forbids despair; a belief that even the most bigoted whites have a core of humanity that might be touched and redeemed; a belief that American ideals were the ultimate answer to America's sins. ...

Gerson’s entire column is here.

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Comments:

Gerson’s informed and reflective column reminds us why we should honor Dr. King’s life and memory. He believed in America’s ideals. And with courage and wisdom, King led us in the continuing struggle to live out those ideals.

Sen. Obama says he denounced Rev. Wright because he now realizes Wright preaches a hateful perversion of Christianity laced with racism and anti-Americanism.

Amen to that.

I hope the Senator will soon deliver a speech explicitly refuting those among his supporters and those on the religious left who are using King’s life and memory to justify Wright’s hate-filled ravings.

It's what a national leader concerned with preserving America's history and honoring our heroes ought to do.

3 comments:

Archer05 said...

Off Topic: There is a new political T-shirt that says:

“We’re Screwed ‘08”

The difficult part is to decide which party should wear it!

Anonymous said...

Today's leftists, mislabeled as "liberals," studiously ignore one of Rev. Dr. King's most provocative statement--when he advised us to judge others on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. Mr. Obama and all the rest of the race-baiting industry are consumed with skin color as some kind of badge of entitlement. Don't expect Mr. Obama to come out anytime soon with kind words for MLK Jr.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Jim in San Diego said...

Another of the puzzles left by the Hoax was, "where was Martin Luther King"?

Had anyone attempted to follow Mr. King's lead, the Hoax might not have happened.

It was Dr. King who said, "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere".

Back at Duke University, Houston ("the presumption of innocence is silly sentimentalism") Baker; Wahneema ("White innocence is black guilt"); and Karla ("no" to due process") Holloway, all tenured Duke professors, betrayed Dr. King's legacy.

Which of course led to the continuing Duke Social Disaster.

Jim Peterson