Axis of Right

Three Native Rhode Islanders Commenting From the Right on Politics and Anything Else

Posts Tagged ‘Martin Luther King Jr’

Obama Preaches to His Choir

Posted by Ryan on August 29, 2008

Last night, Barack Obama accepted his nomination for President and gave “The American Promise” speech.  No ceiling could tame this monster, but perhaps 85,000 mind-numbed rubes at the oddly phallic Invesco Field Obamapolis would suffice!

The speech was well delivered, but I’ve seen him better.  Its content was remarkably average for a “hope and change” candidate.  He wrecked on Ronald the Great and tried to write an epitaph for Conservatism.  He challenged McCain to a debate (though McCain challenged him to 10 in June), had the audacity to use the phrase “brother’s keeper” twice, and promised to end our pain and solve life’s problems for the masses.  By the way, it’s “never been about [Obama]….”  Right.

Typical liberal bilge and run-of-the-mill convention-style red meat, but two things really bothered me about the speech: 

Firstly, his mention of Martin Luther King Jr. and the 45th anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech seemed muted and down right obligatory.  Obama was in a unique situation to evoke the power of the message Dr. King gave that day, without comparing himself to King while bringing home Obama’s place in history.  Yet, he blew it.  I’m not rooting for Obama, but that’s a powerful card he should have played respectfully.  Or perhaps he just couldn’t have pulled it off.

Secondly, the Obama Nation and the Obamapolis.  The tears were obnoxious.  In contrast, back in 2004 Bush evoked his conversation with a mother of a fallen soldier, tears welled up and should have — powerful mental images, powerful example in consequential times.  The Obama Nation are simply swept up in the power of the European-style personality cult which surrounds The One.  Nothing in the substance of the speech last night, under normal circumstances, should have created a deluge of tears like what we saw.  Plus, when the speech ended, the fireworks display, the intense music coupled with the cult-worship of the Empty Suit seriously reminded me of something out of Nuremberg in the 1930s. 

AP photo.

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Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

Posted by Ryan on April 4, 2008

Forty years ago today, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed on a balcony outside the Lorraine Motel by James Earl Ray just after 6pm. 

The Civil Rights Movement lost its most powerful Twentieth Century figure that day, and the movement was never the same.  However, the successful civic action by millions of individuals over the previous fifteen years, legislative achievements through grassroot movements, and the changing of hearts and minds through non-violent protest were all important parts of Dr. King’s legacy.  As far as the Movement was concerned, there was no heir-apparent to Dr. King, being such a unique and special individual living at the right place and right time.  In Washington DC, on August 28, 1963, America saw him at his finest and got a glipse of King’s rhetorical power in his historic “I Have a Dream Speech.”

Of all the speeches Dr. King made, his last public speech on April 3, 1968, while as inspiring as most of his speeches, is quite eerie.  Keep in mind he was shot and killed the next day:

Rhetorical questions like, “Has Dr. King’s ‘dream’ been realized?” are discussed every year on his birthday and today as we use those dates to contemplate the legacy of America’s Gandhi.  As a white man born nine years after King’s assassination, I only know what I’ve seen with my own eyes and learned about the Civil Rights Movement in books, through talking to people who remember it, and on documentary film. 

For instance, I’d like to think that Dr. King would be proud that so many Americans can seriouly accept or reject Barack Obama as potentially our next President truly on the merits of his positions on the important issues while not even mentioning his race as a factor.  Not everyone feels that way, but many Americans are there.  I won’t vote for Obama because he’s a socialist with very little experience governing anything, not because of his looks.

I’d like to think that we are living in a post-racial era.  My students are shocked at the footage they see in class about the Movement and don’t fully understand Affirmative Action, even though they accept it as part of the landscape.  They tend to like Obama but detest Al Sharpton.  They call each other the “n-” word in the hall and deem it OK as long as the word ends in an “a” and not an “er”.  To this Generation Xer, that’s a little strange.  My school is mostly white, but with significant East Asian, Indian, Arab, and African populations so no class is fully white, nor completely full of minorities.  So in the community where I teach, they tend not to see race as too big a deal: not quite colorblind, but blurrier than high school back in the 1990s. 

To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln: what one generation embraces, the next one accepts.  Perhaps this is the legacy of Dr. King that we see all around us — slow but true progress towards race meaning less and less to us in America.

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