Saturday, August 28, 2010

Beck and King Are A Like Oil and Water--They Don't Mix. But Then Neither Do Obama and King.

It was a little painful, of course, but I did have to laugh this week when right-wing TV entertainer Glenn Beck said that he and people like Sarah Palin were responsible for creating the US Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. While Beck and Palin will be making that same claim today on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial--on the very Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Justice where King gave his famous "I Have A Dream" speech--there are big, big differences between their supporting the U.S. military invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and opposing universal health care, economic stimulus, anti-poverty, and federal jobs programs and what King and the 1960s Civil Rights Movement would advocate.

Still, it is all too easy to point out the differences between King and a radio and TV "shock jock" like Beck. The more important distinction to be made is to the real gaps between King's position and President Obama's--and most of the Democratic Party. While Beck hates the whole idea of "social justice" and "community organizing," which were central to the Civil Rights Movement, we will likely need to focus on both and turn the heat up on the current administration in order to move it in a stronger, more positive direction.

To get a sense of what Martin Luther King would be saying to us today if he were alive, take a look at this 30 minute clip of King on Meet the Press from Augustin 1967. We've got some real work to do folks.

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