[Marxism] Freedom Rider: Obama is Not King

Dbachmozart at aol.com Dbachmozart at aol.com
Thu Dec 11 21:16:55 MST 2008


 
 
by BAR editor and  senior columnist Margaret Kimberley  
December 10, 2008 
"The cheap  artwork and mindless sentimentality that seeks to elevate Obama 
to the level of  King and Malcolm X is an affront to the memory of those men."  
In 2009, the official celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday will take  
place on January 19th. Barack Obama will be inaugurated president of  the 
United States on the following day. Obama's election is seen by many as the  
fulfillment of Dr. King's dream of a just society providing equal rights to all  
of its citizens. Despite the frenzied and dishonest efforts to link the two 
men,  it is clear that Obama's elevation to power symbolizes not that King's 
hopes  have been realized, but that they have been dashed.  
It is right that King's birth should be celebrated as a national holiday.  
Unfortunately the nature of that celebration does little to tell us what King's  
actual achievements were or how they should be remembered. The man who is  
continually painted as a mere starry eyed dreamer was anything but. He did not  
want to end segregation solely for the purpose of elevating black people into  
high positions, as the Obama worshippers would have us believe. King never  
strayed from his goal of giving every American full citizenship rights, ending  
grinding poverty, and making the United States act as a force for justice in 
the  world.  
Despite the enormous odds against him, King succeeded in unleashing the pent  
up anger and righteous demands of millions of oppressed people. Because of 
those  demands, President Lyndon Johnson and other politicians were forced to 
reckon  with that movement and with King himself. Not only were the Civil Rights 
Act and  the Voting Rights Act enacted because of popular pressure, but the 
very nature  of American political life and society changed in ways that are 
still being  felt.  
"King never  strayed from his goal of giving every American full citizenship 
rights, ending  grinding poverty, and making the United States act as a force 
for justice in the  world."  
The power unleashed by the demands of millions of people gave King access to  
the highest office in the land. He was regularly consulted by the president 
and  members of his cabinet when federal policy decisions were being made. King 
was  in an unenviable position, which he used in the interests of the people 
who had  put their trust in him. He is probably the only person in American 
history who  gave up a close relationship with a president because his 
convictions demanded  it.  
King's opposition to the war had been growing and on April 4, 1967, a year to 
 the date before his assassination, he made his strongest comments in a 
speech _at Riverside  Church_ (http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/45a/058.html) . 
He denounced the war in Vietnam, and the country's reliance on  "racism, 
materialism and militarism." King's decision to speak out on Vietnam  effectively 
severed his ties with the most powerful politician on earth. In  comparison, 
Barack Obama fought tooth and nail to become the president, the  person who 
righteous people end up fighting against.  
Not only did King make the hard choice to discard his partnership with  
Johnson, but in so doing he brought down the wrath of previously supportive  
politicians, and of some of his closest confidantes. The NAACP _denounced  King_ 
(http://www.aavw.org/protest/king_backlash_abstract07.html)  and disassociated 
themselves from his statement. Other SCLC leaders  were angry that he chose to 
end his silence instead of compromising with the  powerful.  
"King is  probably the only person in American history who gave up a close 
relationship  with a president because his convictions demanded it."  
Anyone who wins a presidential election does much more than compromise. The  
recent disclosure that the Obama campaign _raised  $750 million_ 
(http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aFbwiNirNd08)  is proof. A would be 
president must spend years currying favor  with wealthy, powerful people and 
promise them that the items on their agenda  will always be front and center when 
policy decisions are made.   
It is simply impossible to be both a fighter for justice and president of the 
 United States. The two roles are diametrically opposed and inherently  
incompatible. The cheap artwork and mindless sentimentality that seeks to  elevate 
Obama to the level of King and Malcolm X is an affront to the memory of  those 
men who relentlessly fought powerful interests and paid with their lives  in 
the process.  
The proximity of the King Day celebration and the inauguration is a sadly  
ironic twist of fate. While Martin Luther King demanded that America behave as a 
 civilized nation, Barack Obama is committed to preserving its corruption. 
The  man who denounced war should not be seen in the same light as the man who 
vows  to maintain "the _strongest  military_ 
(http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hzjgZiixMAopIDiH63S2ZWJhhUKQ)  on the planet."  
The ignorance of history that elevates the corrupt with the incorruptible is  
terribly dangerous. The King day celebration was getting worse every year, 
and  in 2009 it will symbolize the political nadir of black Americans. After 
giving  all their votes to a man who offered them nothing, they now discard the 
memory  of a man who ceaselessly fought for them. January 19th and  20th should 
not be celebrated. They should be days of mourning.  
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column  appears weekly in BAR. Ms. 
Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached  via e-Mail at 
Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.Com. Ms. Kimberley  maintains an edifying and 
frequently updated blog at _freedomrider.blogspot.com_ 
(http://freedomrider.blogspot.com/) .  More of her work is also  available at her Black Agenda Report 
_archive_ (http://www.blackagendareport.com/archives/mk/mkhome.php)   page. 
<_http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9
20&Itemid=1_ 
(http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=920&Itemid=1) >


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