Martin Luther King Jr.: Let’s celebrate this great man, but let’s also learn from him

In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. day, I think it’s important to remember that he was a polarizing figure at the time. Politicians and media organizations tried to unjustly tie him to communism and anti-Americanism. However, these days, despite our political or religious beliefs, we all revere him and remember him as the great man he truly was.

It is painfully disappointing that he never got to witness this aftermath. It’s upsetting he never got to see the lasting effects he has had on this country.

However, within the last few years, I can’t help but see similarities on some of the bigotry and racism creeping back up into our culture. I hope and pray that this polarized country that we live in now can learn from the mistakes on how King was treated at the time. Realizing that feeding on bigotry, hatred and fear is not the answer.

Anyway, you knew this was coming. One of the greatest speeches ever given by one of the most influential positive political figures in this country’s great history.


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20 thoughts on “Martin Luther King Jr.: Let’s celebrate this great man, but let’s also learn from him

  1. Missed this linked post yesterday, but Dr King would be considerable more upset that he has had near zero effect on the condition of those he sought to help and that his image has been co-opted to salve neoliberal consciences and create a fantasy pretense that injustice poverty, political repression and greed have been and are still being adequately addressed, today.

    “For the next 24 hours the US Congress is taking a brief respite from its busy efforts to slash unemployment benefits, Food Stamps, real wages, and corporate taxes, to “honor the memory” of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

    So rejoice all ye who enabled the current, “leadership,” in the WH.

  2. NQ,

    On the contrary, Dr. King would be “considerable more upset” to find little bigots incapacitating his purpose with “cups of bitterness and hatred” instead of emulating his vision “on the high plain of dignity and discipline.” Intellectual Discipline, for instance, in applying even rudimentary logic to complex matters rather than resorting to incoherently derived conflations of WH and Congress that filter America’s ills down to a simplex distillation attributable to a single source – America’s first black president.

    Illuminate us with your Dr. King-inspired integrity. Perhaps you could honor Dr. King by exemplifying his discerning nature – demonstrate your acumen by elucidating the strengths, accomplishments, and finer points of America’s first black president. Dr. King would be “considerable more upset” that the laudable accolades of America’s first black president would be entirely obfuscated by the inability of little bigots to recognize King’s own “leadership” style in the current POTUS. Surely, you can honor Dr. King with your acute discernment? You’re able to evaluate Barack Obama by King’s standard – “content of character” – aren’t you? Surely, you can identify Dr. King in President Obama? Surely you can shower your praise as finely as you spit your contempt?

    No, NQ, Dr. King would be “considerable more upset” to learn that little bigots have labeled him (and his “leadership” style) a failure, and Dr. King would be “considerable more upset” that little bigots so often couch their bigotry in craven factionalism or by subverting the Founding Ideals he so intimately comprehended. Dr. King would be “considerable more upset” that little jimmy crow lurks with malignant persistence under the guise of a narrowed meme. Because it’s little jimmy crow that sanctions Big Jim Crow. Little bigots perpetuate big bigots. Bigots beget bigotry. Bigotry begets bigots. That perpetuation paradox – that’s the tricky thing about bigotry and tricksy bigots. Where there’s bigots, there’s bigotry.

    Dr. King would be “considerable less upset” if, on the day that honored him, “cups of bitterness and hatred” not spilleth over so cravenly and carelessly. Your insidious bigotry defiles everything Dr. King stood for and cannot be “whitewashed” by framing it with legitimate concerns.

    Perhaps you shouldn’t try to co-opt Dr. King’s image to salve your bigoted absence of conscience by creating a fantasy pretense that injustice, poverty, political repression, and greed were never addressed, or worse – have never been viewed from a nuanced perspective indicative of Dr. King’s worldview. Perhaps you shouldn’t try to co-opt Dr. King’s image by creating a fantasy pretense which insists that the insidious bigotry you exemplify isn’t among the core reasons that injustice, poverty, political repression, and greed are inadequately addressed. Maybe you should look a little harder to find Dr. King in the 21st century. Clearly you don’t know what you’re looking for. You would if you examined Dr. King with a finer eye.

    It was mighty kind of you, by the way, to bypass so very many “black folk” issues in your encapsulations. I suppose to do otherwise, you might have to engage your attention span beyond its narrow confines and God forbid, we wouldn’t want that. Wouldn’t want you straying from your comfort zone into the uncharted realms of “dignity and discipline.”

    Dr. King would definitely be “considerable more upset” to learn that Divide et Impera still works supremely well, especially when wielded by little bigots. Perhaps desisting from the rhetorical weapon wielded by those you feign to despise would be a fruitful beginning on a path to a better way forward. Go ahead. Break some ground. Tell black folks, Obamabots, and all those “enablers” – tell them all that is laudable about America’s first black president.


  3. Hopefully Zach will NOT delete your comment which I feel goes against his rules for comment decorum. Denial is not a river in Egypt, as you have again so clearly illustrated. There is nothing at all in the leadership practiced by our POTUS that Dr King, if he were still alive today, would not be fighting tooth and nail, word and pen.

    Obomba is a 1% enabler, corporate sellout without exception. Saying so doesn’t make me a bigot, but there you go, you have a right to your rant. As usual your personal attack against me is mere belief and opinion, backed with apparent rage, and with absolutely no facts getting in your way.

    By being specific about Obomba, I am not excusing for a minute, most of the rest of, “both sides” of the 1% party in DC whose influence controls state party leadership and loyalty $$. But until “Democrats,” admit knee jerk party loyalty brought us the present program of austerity and journalistic repression, as wealth is socialized to the top, we are stuck as a nation from ever practically achieving any change for those people Dr King gave his life to help. Lack of valid objection to points I’ve repeatedly made at BB, I hope means that readers are understanding the war mongering grifter at the helm. I’m calling for reflection on the reality, not for individual confessions.

    Hope you are feeling better soon, and have a nice day.

    (Apologize for prior typing error, meant, ‘considerably,’)

    1. You needn’t reiterate what you endlessly repeat.

      Perhaps you could honor Dr. King with something novel and as yet untried – can you recognize and describe the President’s laudable qualities? Or are you unable to find anything about the President worthy of praise?

      You really can’t, can you? Little bigots never can.

      Study Dr. King with a finer eye.

    2. Look, is it too much to ask to show President Obama a little respect and refer to him by his name instead of a pejorative?

      I fail to understand how referring to President Obama as “President Obomba” heightens the discussion here.

      1. I am keeping an eye out for news that would indicate that shoe no longer fits. Indeed I’ll rejoice if it were to occur. The emblematic stature of the office of the Chief Executive charged with enforcement of our constitutional directives, presently willfully ignored, secreted, obfuscated and blatantly flaunted with Terror Tuesdays, sanctioning review of the “disposition matrix,” rightfully concerns me (as do several other issues).

        Militarized police, racial profiling, two-tiered legal injustice, unabated meta-data collection, all proliferate at the expense of our guaranteed rights and liberties, allowed and now institutionalized under the, “fine example,” set at the very top. Respect given where respect is due.

        Sorry that my designation doesn’t sit well with you.

        1. NQ,

          I could justify the term President N^gg*r with a hundred articles. And if that designation doesn’t sit well? You’ve not “proven” anything. So perhaps Zach should allow me to use that term as frequently and with as much flourish as you use your myriad demeaning epithets.

          Have you thought on the query I posed? Can you recognize and describe the President’s laudable qualities? Are you able to identify anything praiseworthy about America’s first black president? Can you find as many attributes to laud as to condemn?

          This isn’t a trick question, NQ. You’ve clearly articulated your contempt for the President. You needn’t provide further example for edification. It is your praise that is of interest at this juncture.

          1. I posted below at 7:10am before I refreshed my screen and saw your latest drivel and distraction. That you apparently cannot imagine someone’s contempt of policies being practiced in the top leadership role in our country, logically might lead to understanding that behavior is obviously latent in that person, surprises me not in the least.

            In clear conscience I can say that I did not support his re-election, so assuage your own guilt with your obsessive/compulsion in denigrating me, it is still NOT my job to prove your point that there is something praise-worthy to be noted.

            Fact free whining, libelous assertions, diversion to attempt to needlessly antagonize, nice way to honor Dr King, PJ.

  4. I think it’s clear in the post that I wasn’t comparing Dr. King’s accomplishments with President Obama’s. I was merely stating the similarities how they are treated. Look, I am quite positive that the Tea Party movement would not have existed if Obama was not black. If someone can’t see that, well then that’s on them.

  5. PJ,

    I’m pretty confident Martin Luther King Jr. would be openly critical of Obama if he were still alive. I doubt he’d call him ” Barry Obomber ” but I have no doubt King would be critical.

  6. There is no better way to honor the memory of Dr King than to alert people to what he was fighting for and the radical agenda he eventually chose, which brought about his assassination. He began opposing the oligarchs and speaking out about Vietnam, corporate and US imperialism that was rivaling anything in history, about racial injustice in the lopsided numbers of the 2000 Americans killed each week being predominantly racial minorities. He absolutely saw the genocidal racial injustice being perpetrated on an Asian people, not even being regarded as people, but as mere impediments to extractionist global conglomerates, dressed in the guise of saving these people from the evils of communism.

    PJ @ 1:39pm (with more petty derogatory name-calling) hilariously challenges me to defend Obomba, to find something laudable about him, as apparently PJ is completely unable to so or is too lazy to counter, or debate the points that I make about our commander and thief, but implores me to find something that doesn’t exist. You make a claim and ask me to defend your premise, pure elitist condescension PJ, The Rev King was speaking against you.

    Adam is rightly making the connection to the failure on the part of neoliberals, party line deomcrats, and so many white USians, to even remember much less to actually carry on Dr King’s hopes, teachings and struggles, “However, within the last few years, I can’t help but see similarities on some of the bigotry and racism creeping back up into our culture.” We face a full out class war rather than a mostly racial war, the main difference presently. White skin doesn’t buy immunity, anymore.

    Links to further reading on the evolving Dr King near the end of his life, the direction that was abruptly stifled. ICYM them:

  7. NQ,

    I’m not asking you to defend the President. I’m asking you if, in your evaluation of the President, you can identify anything praiseworthy or laudable.

    1. You cannot even properly restate your the first instance of your question, plainly there in writing @ 1:39 Wedsneday, imploring me to honor Dr King, by lauding the POTUS, which is a ridiculous request as your later demand, in NO way is logically fulfilled with the first demand.

      And now you restate the just the second portion of your first question, to which I have already clearly answered, yesterday at 9:20 pm.

      Ask the question as many times as you wish, refuse to do the work of defending your POTUS as long as you wish, you’ve failed to counter anything I’ve written in this thread, but make another libelous, unsubstantiated attack on my character and three times you should be out and banned from the forum. That is all, over and out.

  8. NQ,

    I’m not defending the President and I’m not asking you to. I’m not asking you to prove any of my evaluations. I’m asking for your evaluation. If you need further contextualization so you might better understand the query, here’s some more: the context of dispelling bitterness and hatred as in Dr. King’s plea for we, as a society, to strive toward – as a way to honor Dr. King by actuating his dream. Given your confusion, here’s a suggestion: If it’s easier for you to disregard the context and simply reply to the query, then do that.

    I’m merely on the same quest that you are. I’m looking for evidence that indicates the “shoe doesn’t fit.” LIsten, every human being has prejudices, biases, and strongly held convictions. You’re not alone in that regard. At issue:

    Your comment(s) express bitterness and hatred toward the President. I, therefore, asked you for your full perspective – you have yet to articulate any praise for President Obama. I haven’t asked you to defend what I might consider praiseworthy. Can you offer an objective evaluation of the President’s positive and negative attributes? If you think the President has no positive attributes that you can identify, say so. It’s that simple.

    I’m also asking: can you shift from your position to try to recognize a perspective that isn’t your own? If your evaluation can only accommodate your own perspective, then by definition, your perspective would be a bigoted one. If your analysis isn’t fairly derived, then it is by definition a bigoted one. If you haven’t a care for how your expressions impact others, it is by definition, bigotry. I suppose another way to look at bigotry is absence of empathy.

    Here’s the Merriam-Webster online definition of bigot:

    “A person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc.: a bigoted person; especially: a person who hates or refuses to accept members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group). A person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his own opinions and prejudices; especially: one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred or intolerance.”

    From my Random House dictionary:

    Bigot. a person who is utterly intolerant of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from his own.

    Bigoted: utterly intolerant of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own.

    Bigotry: 1. stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own. 2. actions, beliefs, prejudices of a bigot.

    Similarly, Random House’s dictionaryonline:

    Narrow-mindedness, bias, discrimination.

    “ bigotry is the state of mind of a bigot: someone who, as a result, of their prejudices, treats or views other people with fear, distrust, hatred, contempt, or intolerance on the basis of a person’s opinion, ethnicity, race, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics.

    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. described bigotry in the following quotation: ‘The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract.’”

    Perhaps that observation by O.W. Holmes resonates with you?

    You’ve made your position regarding the President clear. I won’t be refuting or affirming any of your stated conclusions. We aren’t engaged in debate. You haven’t even rationally argued the conclusions you’ve drawn. At this juncture, what I’m interested to learn is: how far from your point you take your evaluation and how objective your perspective is. Thus far, you’ve expressed a bigoted perspective – one that is intolerant of any other and one that is more than a little bit insensitive.

    If you’d like me to apologize for writing the word bigot. I apologize. Yet, bear in mind, the fact remains your perspective, as it stands, exhibits bigotry. So, you’d be caught in that perpetuation paradox… bigots beget bigotry, bigotry begets bigots.

    So again, I ask, rephrased: To honor Dr. King’s aspirations for dispelling discord and bigotry, rather than expressing only bitterness and hatred toward this nation’s first African American President, can you write of his praiseworthy features in the same measure that you condemn him?

    If you are unable to identify any worthiness at all in America’s first black president, indicate that conclusion with clarity. That’s a simple binary yes or no answer or a simple declarative statement.

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