Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston





Monday, January 16, 2017

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today we honor a great American and great fighter for civil rights for all people:  

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

(Meanwhile, Trump cancelled his scheduled trip to the Civil Rights Museum to honor Dr. King. Trump must have dozens of Tweets to send out telling everyone how mean John Lewis was to him. Trump doesn't have one one hundredth of the courage possessed by both King and Lewis, real American heroes.)


Shaw Kenawe said...

Michael Gerson:

Trump often justifies his attacks as counterpunching. Even a glancing blow seems to merit a nuclear response. But this is the exact opposite of the ethical teaching of the Sermon on the Mount, and of the principled nonviolence of the civil rights movement. In these systems of thought, the true victory comes in absorbing a blow with dignity, even with love. It is the substance of King’s message. It is the essence of a cruciform faith.

This is not always easy to translate into politics. But a president-elect attacking a hero of the civil rights movement less than a week before he takes the oath of office is not normal. There is some strange inversion of values at work. Because Vladimir Putin praises him, Trump defends Putin. Because Lewis criticizes him, Trump attacks Lewis (as “talk, talk, talk — no action or results”). The only organizing principle is the degree of deference to Trump himself. It is the essence of narcissism.

A broader conception of the American story — a respect for the heroes and ghosts of our history — is absent in Trump’s public voice. He seems to be in the thrall of an eternal now. To some, the whole idea of a historical imagination will sound nebulous. Abraham Lincoln called it the “mystic chords of memory.” He hung his hopes for unity on the existence of a shared national experience that transcended regional differences. Today our divisions are more along lines of class and culture, but we also need to hear our story as one people.

Not every citizen shares this sense of history. It is a minority of Americans who visit Antietam and feel oppressed by the immense weight of collective death; or go to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis and feel sickened by the scale of such a loss; or walk across that bridge in Selma and hear the echoes of snarling dogs and nightsticks against bone.

But we need a president who respects and evokes this story — or at least does not peevishly attack its heroes.

Rational Nation USA said...

As I set in the Hyundai garage having service work done I've perused some of the right wing Trumpanzee weblogs. It is revolting to decent people what is found on those sites. WYD remains one of the worst.

Dave Miller said...

Here's my favorite part of that article...

There are a lot of debunkers at work in American society. They point out that the priest is really a balding, middle-aged man with sweat stains at his armpits. They see the judge as an old woman who has the remnants of lunch caught between her teeth. They see John Lewis as just another career politician. But the priest holds the body of Christ, the judge embodies the rule of law, and Lewis once carried the full weight of America’s promise across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Yes, Dave, that was beautiful and true. I read Gerson every chance I get.

WYD is, after all, known for its racists, misogynists, anti-semites, anti-Muslims, and anti-decency.

Shaw Kenawe said...

@RN, those rightwing blogs expose the intellectual rot that has taken over the Republican Party. It is an indisputable truth that had Donald Trump run as a Democratic candidate, the Republicans would have said about Trump everything the Democrats are saying about him: He is vulgar, petty, ignorant of how government works, and morally deplorable. When the Republicans talked about how the forgotten working classes in America were drawn to him because they were sick of the elites running the country, you knew not only were they delusional but willfully blind.

Owning a private jet, living in a gold-gilded Louis XIV 33,000 sq.ft. penthouse, owning several mansions, and thumbing one's nose at accepted norms of running for the presidency, i.e., releasing one's tax returns, is the very definition of "elite."

Trump is the elite of the elitists. And his supporters have been had.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Martin Luther King wasn’t about what he personally could accomplish. King was a leader of a movement for equality and justice. The movement was the focus, not the man.

Donald Trump completely missed the point of Dr. King’s life and work. Trump loves to claim that he is leading a movement, but the president-elect has confused a movement with an egocentric cult of personality. Trump isn’t leading a movement because intellectually incapable of thinking in the terms needed to lead a group of people.
Jason Easley

Clearwater, Florida said...

Trump has criticized so many people, from John McCain to John Lewis, from the Pope to Meryl Streep. But there's one person he never, never criticizes, and that's the former head of the Communist KGB and Russian strongman Putin. I wonder why.

Ducky's here said...

So what has President Water Sports done to acknowledge MLK Day?

Does it surprise anyone that he didn't have the courage to face John Lewis?

skudrunner said...

MLK was the last great black leader who represented change and not just money or fame. Unfortunately there has been no one to take the lead unless you consider the Rev Al or Jessie as acceptable leaders which they are not. Both are in it for their own self worth.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Charles Blow:

"It is true that Donald Trump is, by all measures of the law, the legitimate president-elect and will legitimately be inaugurated our 45th president on Friday, no matter how much it pains me to write that or pains you to read it. There simply is no constitutional or statutory mechanism to nullify the installation of an elected president based on election influencing, even by a hostile state actor. The framers of the Constitution had no way of anticipating digital warfare being used in a propaganda attack. The Constitution was ratified before electric lights were invented.

But there is another way of considering legitimacy, another test that his election doesn’t meet: That is when legitimacy is defined as “conforming to recognized principles or accepted rules and standards.”

Here, Lewis and his fellow believers are on solid footing. Trump has bucked our conventions; his life is rife with percolating conflicts; Comey outrageously threw a wrench in the works with his meaningless, last-minute letter about Clinton’s email (which is now, quite rightly, being investigated); and the intelligence community has determined with high confidence that Russia interfered in our election in an effort to hurt Clinton and help Trump, their desired candidate.

The only thing of burning significance left to know is whether there was any collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign and whether there are any other unknown connections between those two entities.

Mr. Trump, I join John Lewis in asserting with full confidence and clear conscience that I, too, don’t see you as a legitimate president. Your presidency is illegitimate insofar as outside interference in an election violates our standards and principles. You will wear that scarlet “I” on your tan chest for as long as you sit in the White House."

Rational Nation USA said...

MLK was the last great black leader who represented change and not just money or fame. Unfortunately there has been no one to take the lead unless you consider the Rev Al or Jessie as acceptable leaders which they are not. Both are in it for their own self worth.

Have you had your head in the sand (or sh*t) for the past eight years skud? Apparently you have.

President Barack H. Obama has ben that steady black transitional leader. One who showed courage, determination, character, poise, and exemplary patience. A man who was sure enough of himself, his responsibilities, and his purpose he did not find it necessary to denigrate or mock individuals and organizations that disagreed with him in the way El Donaldo the man CHILD president elect has excelled in doing.

Nor did he spend his time criticizing and trying to bully the free and independent press. Although he did accept all the free and YUUUUGLY almost 24/7 exposure they gave him.

BTW, neither Jackson or Sharpton are nearly as influential as they once were. I imagine there is a reason they aren't. Perhaps it is because they are moving aside so a new generation can take the helm and work with a new generation of white leaders who truly see their black American counterparts as equals.

Change is coming skud, but it ain't the change Trump and his 37%-44% support group is hawking.

Rational Nation USA said...

In the above it is El Donaldo I was referring that accepted the free and YUUUUGLY 24/7 exposure.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Clearwater, it's becoming more and more evident that the Russians have some sort of hold over Trump.

Ducky, Trump behaved like the cowardly bully that he is. He can dish it out, but he can't take it.

skud, you dislike of President Obama blinded you to his accomplishments as an African-American leader. RN is correct.