Monday, November 1, 2010


I saw a flier with Obama on it on the train today that said "Keep King's Dream Alive". It had a photo of MLK and Obama on the front. The back had slogan about not letting "them turn the clock back".

I found this to be manipulative and disgusting. MLK's dream was not to expand brutal and costly wars and occupation abroad. Nor was his dream to punish the poor with austerity and shower billions on the rich and powerful (quite the opposite, in fact). Nor was MLK a champion of public school privatization, union busting, and permanent tax breaks for the richest.

Whereas Obama shrugs about skyrocketing black unemployment figures, MLK was on the streets demanding that the people themselves be part of demanding the changes we need.

Whereas MLK stood up for social justice for all, Obama stands up for the wealthiest and powerful Americans.

Whereas MLK argued that organized an independent social movement that was guided by the wisdom that "justice too long delayed is justice denied", Obama sternly tells us to sit quietly while he respectfully begs the powers-that-be for crumbs.

Claiming that Obama stands for keeping "King's Dream Alive" isn't just false, it's insulting.

Of course, it is not new for basically conservative forces to attempt to appropriate King's legacy for their own purposes. Even the hard-Right Heritage Foundation has a page claiming King as one of their own.

But I find it especially appalling in the case of Obama. It is true that racism is on the rise, that deep historical injustices go unaddressed. But Obama is a proponent of the status quo here; he is not a force for racial justice as he has proven time and time again. Yet this doesn't seem to prevent him from cashing-in on the legitimate grievances people, particular people of color, have with the status quo.

But although he takes and takes, Obama has nothing for us but the thinnest of gruels. Associating himself with someone as ambitious, driven, and demanding as MLK is a crime.

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