Chances are he’d have a few things to say about Obama’s replacement
Considering what’s about to happen to us on January 20, when one of the greatest and most gracious presidents this country has ever been fortunate enough to have at the helm must step aside from all his accomplishments to make way for a man who poses one of the gravest threats to the office of the presidency – and to this country – that we have faced in at least a century, it’s time for all sane Americans to shake this depression and get to work. Because, in a very real sense, our lives, and the lives of our families, may depend on what we all do collectively from this point forward.
It’s what Dr. Martin Luther King would do.
In thinking about this, it’s hard not to think about how King might have responded to this situation. The honest answer is there’s no way to really know because the man has been dead for nearly 50 years, and the America of King’s day was different in a number of ways from today. For one, there’s no way a black man named Barack Obama, the product of a white woman and an African man, could have ever been elected President of the United States during King’s America.
Still, there remains the endurance of King’s words, which offers at least a sliver of insight into the counsel King may have offered suggesting how to confront the looming dilemma that will characterize the next four years.
That said, every year on Martin Luther King Day everybody seems to want to focus on the “I Have A Dream” speech, which was actually first delivered right here in Detroit. Not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with that, because it was a fine speech. Powerful.
But it was hardly the only speech King delivered worth remembering. Although King is rightfully considered as the one human being who best represents the spirit – and the struggle – of the civil rights movement in America (at least in the popular memory), King was also strongly committed to correcting social inequity and injustice overall, which explained his strong opposition to the Vietnam War, a conflict which he viewed as gravely immoral. Given President-elect Donald Trump’s obvious struggles with the inconvenient demands of morality, I think it’s safe to say that had King lived to see Trump become our nation’s next president, he would have recognized the situation for the crisis that it presents to all of us.
No, not just for black people, or even only for the majority of voting Americans who had the good sense to vote against the man. Because as many of Trump’s deplorables are swiftly finding out, their white supremacist hero is an equal opportunity threat to poor and working class white folks just as he is a threat to poor and working class everybody else.
Or as King said:
“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
Indeed we are. And the sooner we realize it, the sooner, and more effectively, we’ll be able to deal with patching the holes and making sure we don’t all drown.
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
We all know the things Trump said, and he didn’t say them by accident. By their fruits ye shall know them? Yeah, well Trump has more than enough rotten fruit lying around bearing his engraved initials for us to know who is responsible for the smell. But it’s those among us who still claim to be good friends and buddies, yet who would prefer to abstain every time someone is needed for the struggle ahead, that we need to screen out. Those individuals should be recognized as ex-friends and associates.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
If you can walk through a room and not leave any evidence you were there, then you weren’t there.
“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.”
One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King. As the saying goes, freedom ain’t free. It ain’t permanent either. All the things Dr. King fought for, all the things that President Obama fought for, will require a constant struggle to maintain. Evil doesn’t sleep, and it’s always hungry.
“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”
This is in case you missed the point of the last quote.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
About as straightforward as you can get. As I said before, Trump isn’t just a threat to those who opposed his presidency. He’s a threat to justice everywhere.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Unbend your back.
“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”
Too far? If you think so, my suggestion would be to take a look at history, then get back to me. There’s a reason why Trump was openly and joyously endorsed and celebrated by both the Ku Klux Klan and all the other white nationalist groups. Same recognizes same. And all the ways Trump scammed the system through multiple bankruptcies so he didn’t have to pay so many of the workers on his multiple projects? Legal. His plans for supporting his fellow Republicans in dismantling Obamacare with nothing to replace it? Legal. His reported plans to restructure the intelligence agencies because he doesn’t like the truth they told him about Russia’s hacking? Perfectly legal. His strong preference for shutting out the press and communicating his own take on reality with no one to question his actions via Twitter? Legal. His election? Yep. Legal.
And so on, and so on, and so on…
“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
The evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election in an effort to thwart the election of Hillary Clinton in favor of Donald Trump is now overwhelming. Trump’s response has been to effectively stick his head in the sand, refusing to be briefed by his own intelligence agencies who collected that evidence. Then, when he finally allowed himself to be briefed, he didn’t like what they said so he has said that he plans to possibly redesign these agencies in such a way that they will bring him only the news he wants to hear.