Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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Compassionate Conservatism

Compassionate Conservatism
Suffer the little children to go back to where they came from.

Friday, August 27, 2010

CONSERVATIVES, CIVIL RIGHTS, AND THE REVEREND MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.



So Glenn Beck of FAUX News is hosting a gathering of conservatives in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC to "Restore Honor" in America; and by "Divine Providence," as Beck so humbly put it, this rally just happened to fall on the 42nd anniversary of The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech. 

But wait.  Beck assured his listeners that he would not stand on the same steps as Dr. King did when he gave that speech over four decades ago.  Instead, Beck will stand a few steps lower from where MLK stood.  Isn't that special?  What humility the man has!  Beck also scolded that liberals and whites don't own MLK and his legacy.

Well if anyone knows about MLK and whom he would have chosen to honor the anniversary of his famous speech, it would be Glenn Beck, the conservatives' champion and loud-mouthed, mewling, puking, grand-standing nincompoop who can't remember what the rally is about, or whom he loathes, fears, and feels inferior to from one moment to the next.

Let's look at the record on how conservatives--Democratic and Republican--honored Dr. King when he was alive, and how they honored his memory when legislation was introduced to make his birthday a national holiday, shall we?  Let's see how much of the truth Beck is trying to distort and misrepresent in his one-man mission to sully Dr. King's memory.  Rick Perlstein, journalist and historian wrote a fine essay on this subject which I quote in part below.  When Dr. King was murdered on April 4, 1968, then President Nixon said:

"a great leader--a man determined that the American Negro should win his rightful place alongside all others in our nation." Even one of King's most beastly political enemies, Mississippi Representative William Colmer, chairman of the House rules committee, honored the president's call to unity by terming the murder "a dastardly act."


Others demurred. South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond wrote his constituents, "[W]e are now witnessing the whirlwind sowed years ago when some preachers and teachers began telling people that each man could be his own judge in his own case." Another, even more prominent conservative said it was just the sort of "great tragedy that began when we began compromising with law and order, and people started choosing which laws they'd break."


That was Ronald Reagan, the governor of California, arguing that King had it coming. King was the man who taught people they could choose which laws they'd break--in his soaring exegesis on St. Thomas Aquinas from that Birmingham jail in 1963: "Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. ... Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong."

That's not what you hear from conservatives today, of course. What you get now are convoluted and fantastical tributes arguing that, properly understood, Martin Luther King was actually one of them--or would have been, had he lived. But, if we are going to have a holiday to [restore] honor..., we might as well honor history. We might as well recover the true story. Conservatives--both Democrats and Republicans--hated King's doctrines. Hating them was one of the litmus tests of conservatism."

(Note:  I hadn't read Perlstein's article when I made that same claim in the comment section below.)

READ MORE OF RICK PERLSTEIN'S ESSAY HERE.

Victor Davis Hanson, a self-identified Democrat, but a CONSERVATIVE Democrat who supported President Bush and Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld had this to say about MLK after he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964:

"For years now, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and his associates have been deliberately undermining the foundations of internal order in this country. With their rabble-rousing demagoguery, they have been cracking the “cake of custom” that holds us together. With their doctrine of “civil disobedience,” they have been teaching hundreds of thousands of Negroes — particularly the adolescents and the children — that it is perfectly alright to break the law and defy constituted authority if you are a Negro-with-a-grievance; in protest against injustice. And they have done more than talk. They have on occasion after occasion, in almost every part of the country, called out their mobs on the streets, promoted “school strikes,” sit-ins, lie-ins, in explicit violation of the law and in explicit defiance of the public authority. They have taught anarchy and chaos by word and deed — and, no doubt, with the best of intentions — and they have found apt pupils everywhere, with intentions not of the best. Sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind."

And more CONSERVATIVE statements on civil rights:

You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘N****r, n****r, n****r.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘n****r’ – that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.” –Lee Atwater, 1981

“I wouldn’t like to see my party assume that it is the role of the Federal Government to enforce integration in schools.”–Barry Goldwater, 1961

“We’re not going to get the Negro vote as a bloc in 1964 and 1968, so we ought to go hunting where the ducks are.” –Barry Goldwater, 1961

“I would have voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” –Ronald Reagan, 1966

“I believe in States’ Rights. I believe we have distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended to be given in the Constitution to that federal establishment.”
–Ronald Reagan, Philadephia, Mississippi, 1980

Dr. King on the liberal/progressive idea of affirmative action:

"In the last years of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life, many mainstream journalists and conservative politicians treated him with fear and derision. In 1967, Life magazine (4/21/67) dubbed King's prophetic anti";war address "demagogic slander" and "a script for Radio Hanoi." Even years later, Ronald Reagan described King as a near";Communist

King was well aware of the arguments used against affirmative action policies. As far back as 1964, he was writing in Why We Can't Wait: "Whenever the issue of compensatory treatment for the Negro is raised, some of our friends recoil in horror. The Negro should be granted equality, they agree; but he should ask nothing more. On the surface, this appears reasonable, but it is not realistic."



King supported affirmative action";type programs because he never confused the dream with American reality. As he put it, "A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for the Negro" to compete on a just and equal basis (quoted in Let the Trumpet Sound, by Stephen Oates).

In a 1965 Playboy interview, King compared affirmative action";style policies to the GI Bill: "Within common law we have ample precedents for special compensatory programs.... And you will remember that America adopted a policy of special treatment for her millions of veterans after the war."

In King's teachings, affirmative action approaches were not "reverse discrimination" or "racial preference." King promoted affirmative action not as preference for race over race (or gender over gender), but as a preference for inclusion, for equal oportunity, for real democracy. Nor was King's integration punitive: For him, integration benefited all Americans, male and female, white and non";white alike. And contrary to Gingrich, King insisted that, along with individual efforts, collective problems require collective solutions."

And finally, John McCain.  The nominee of the conservative GOP, whose running mate, Sarah Palin, strongly supported and praised in his recent primary run against his opponent.
"1983: McCain Voted Against Creating Martin Luther King Holiday. McCain voted against the Hall (D-IN) motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill to designate the third Monday of every January as a federal holiday in honor of the late civil rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. [Vote 289, HR 3706, Motion agreed to 89-77, D 249-13, 8/2/83; CQ 1983]"


"Newt Gingrich said that the Civil Rights act came about because of the "left-wing of the democratic party."

And finally:

"The direct consequence of this courageous action by the Democratic Party [in passing civil rights legislation] was that millions of Southern racists--as well racists elsewhere in the country--abandoned the Democrats at the national level, electing Republican presidents in 7 of the next 10 elections, after Democrats had won 7 of the previous 9 elections.


 In short, the racist elements of the Democratic Party \...were essential elements of the movement conservative base that rose to power in a racial backlash against the advancement of civil rights.

The rising conservative movement already within the GOP was equally characterized by racism."

SOURCE


CHRIS MATTHEWS:







CHARLES BLOW OF THE NEW YORK TIMES:

I HAD A NIGHTMARE:
"The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was already dead when I was born, and yet I idolized him the way most children idolized athletes and pop stars. I had the poster and the T-shirt, I knew the speeches and the places he’d marched.


He was smart and brave, steadfast and unmovable. He was a man consumed by conviction and possessed by the magnificent radiance of the earnestly humble. He was an eloquent speaker and a beautiful writer. He cared more about justice and equality than fame or fortune. He was a beacon of light in a world beset by darkness.

That’s why the nightmarish idea of Glenn Beck (who has called President Obama a racist and compared Obama’s America to "The Planet of the Apes") holding a "Restoring Honor" rally on the 47th anniversary of — and on the same site as — King’s "I Have a Dream" speech, so incensed me. "

BOB HERBERT OF THE NEW YORK TIMES:

America Is Better Than This


America is better than Glenn Beck. For all of his celebrity, Mr. Beck is an ignorant, divisive, pathetic figure. On the anniversary of the great 1963 March on Washington he will stand in the shadows of giants — Abraham Lincoln and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Who do you think is more representative of this nation?

Lincoln: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

King: “Never succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter.”

Beck: “I think the president is a racist.”

[skip]

Beck is a provocateur who likes to play with matches in the tinderbox of racial and ethnic confrontation. He seems oblivious to the real danger of his execrable behavior. He famously described President Obama as a man “who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”



He is an integral part of the vicious effort by the Tea Party and other elements of the right wing to portray Mr. Obama as somehow alien, a strange figure who is separate and apart from — outside of — ordinary American life. As the watchdog group Media Matters for America has noted, Beck said of the president, “He chose to use the name, Barack, for a reason, to identify not with America — you don’t take the name Barack to identify with America. You take the name Barack to identify, with what? Your heritage? The heritage, maybe, of your father in Kenya, who is a radical?”

Facts and reality mean nothing to Beck. And there is no road too low for him to slither upon. The Southern Poverty Law Center tells us that in a twist on the civil rights movement, Beck said on the air that he “wouldn’t be surprised if in our lifetime dogs and fire hoses are released or opened on us. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of us get a billy club to the head. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of us go to jail — just like Martin Luther King did — on trumped-up charges. Tough times are coming.”


He makes you want to take a shower.


In Beck’s view, President Obama is driven by a desire to settle “old racial scores” and his ultimate goal is “reparations” for black Americans. Abe Lincoln and Dr. King could only look on aghast at this clown.



This is what Beck is and these are the people Beck has urged to join him [conservatives] on Saturday, Aug. 28, on the 42nd anniversary of the Reverend Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

Beck calls this shame and desecration of Dr. King's memory that he is sponsoring "Restore Honor?"  What honor?  The honor of remembering that the people he champions are the very same who fought hard and long to deny African Americans, and now gays their civil rights? The honor of being one of the most divisive jerks America has ever produced?  What sort of delusional people follow him.  Answer:  People who do not use the intellect they were born with.


What Beck plans for Saturday is in no way "restoring honor" ot America or Dr. King's memory.  What he plans is dishonoring Dr. King and everything every liberal and progressive has worked and died for in promoting civil rights and equality in this country. 

A pox on him and shame on those who support him.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

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TAO said...

I don't know but it would seem to me that 'restoring honor' is alot like trying to regain your virginity....

Once its gone...its gone....

Anonymous said...

you can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but beck fools all of his people all of the time.

what a bunch of blockheads.

An Observer said...

beck stands for nothing except promoting himself and making money

his followers apparently don't have the skills to see through his fake patriotism, and adore him because he speaks to their prejudices and hatreds.

he claims he's a history buff yet says he didn't realize he planned this disgrace on the anniversary of the I have a dream speech.

just one more disgusting lie by a jackass who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.

Arthurstone said...

In the words of the immortal Glenn Beck, were he remotely an honest man.

Champion of the down trodden. Friend of the underdog and fierce foe of injustice.

Just kidding.

"I have a scheme..."

Shaw Kenawe said...

Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald"

"...conservatives touting the likelihood that King voted Republican — as if the party in 1957 bore any resemblance to the party now.

But even by those standards, Glenn Beck's effrontery is monumental. Even by those standards, he goes too far. Beck was part of the "we" who founded the civil rights movement!? "No." Here's who "we" is.

"We" is Emmett Till, tied to a cotton gin fan in the murky waters of the Tallahatchie River. "We" is Rosa Parks telling the bus driver no. "We" is Diane Nash on a sleepless night waiting for missing Freedom Riders to check in. "We" is Charles Sherrod, husband of Shirley, gingerly testing desegregation compliance in an Albany, Ga., bus station. "We" is a sharecropper making his X on a form held by a white college student from the North. "We" is Harry Belafonte, Marlon Brando and Pernell Roberts of "Bonanza," lending their names, their wealth and their labor to the cause of freedom.

"We" is Medgar Evers, Michael Schwerner, Jimmie Lee Jackson, James Reeb, Viola Liuzzo, Cynthia Wesley, Andrew Goodman, Denise McNair, James Chaney, Addie Mae Collins and Carole Robertson, shot, beaten and blown to death for that cause.

"We" is Lyndon Johnson, building a legislative coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats to defeat intransigent Southern Democratic conservatives and enshrine that cause into law.

And "we" is Martin Luther King, giving voice and moral clarity to the cause — and paying for it with his life.

The we to which Glenn Beck belongs is the we that said no, the we thatcried "socialism!" "communism!" "tyranny!" whenever black people and their allies cried freedom.

The fatuous and dishonorable attempt to posit conservatives as the prime engine of civil rights depends for success on the ignorance of the American people. Sadly, as anyone who has ever watched a Jay Walking segment on "The Tonight Show" can attest, the American people have ignorance in plenitude.

This, then, is to serve notice as Beck and his tea-party faithful gather in Lincoln's shadow to claim the mantle of King: Some of us are not ignorant. Some of us remember. Some of us know very well who "we" is.

And, who "we" is not."

dmarks said...

Back cut down to size elsewhere too:

http://newspaperrock.bluecorncomics.com/2010/08/glenn-beck-or-ignoramus.html

Sheria said...

I can't believe that I had missed visiting until now. I love Progressive Eruptions!

I like the clown picture of Beck; it's so appropriate. No wonder so many people have a fear of clowns.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Hi Sheria,

Thanks for stopping by.

Hope to see you again, soon!