Monday, January 21, 2019

Last Call For Dr. King's Legacy

Another year of the Trump Era, where in America Donald Trump and Mike Pence making an "unannounced two-minute visit" to the MLK Memorial in DC to plop down a wreath and vanish so they can get credit for "promoting unity" while making sure that the base doesn't catch them in the act of believing black people are human, and it's the perfect metaphor.

Black people get 2 minutes out of 24 hours of Trump's time on the one day out of an entire year where America has to pretend there's racial harmony in a white supremacist country, where the current White House spokesman says Dr. King "gave his life" rather than "assassinated by white reactionaries".

And as always, Dr. King's Letter From A Birmingham Jail sums up the Trump voter and the Trump non-voter.

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

Every year we bring that boil to the surface, every year we point out that the disease of racism and white supremacy that caused the boil is still infecting the country, every year we as a country pretend it's awesome being black or brown or not white in America because at least you people aren't slaves anymore, what else do you goddamn want from us.

The same people who King warned us about more then 55 years ago are the same people who allowed Donald Trump to end up in the Oval Office.  This is where the white backlash to Obama and the Civil Rights Movement in America has gotten us, the most racist president since Andrew Jackson.

I'm tired of America reverting to form.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails