[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
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 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.
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