does not wash your sins away
But it is a great time to casually invoke and exploit the name of Dr. King, as if, with a little magical Republican fairy dust, their bigotry of yesterday will be purified and made clean.
Exhibit A: Rick Perry. Yes, the same Rick Perry who spent many a fond summer at Niggerhead Ranch, the name of which is, according to Republican logic, so obviously benign and "just a name" that Republicans were outraged when Herman Cain went all angry black man and said it was "insensitive."
He urged the audience to take the opportunity to send messages that highlight the same values that King espoused and pointed to his action as governor of Texas to appoint Wallace Jefferson, the descendant of slaves, as the first African-American justice to the Texas Supreme Court and later to elevate Jefferson to the position of chief justice.
“That is our challenge as Americans,” he said. “Don’t just talk to me. Show me! Show me the power of Martin Luther King. Show me the power of what you believe in your heart.”
That's right. Rick Perry once appointed a black guy to something—just like Dr. King would have done if he'd been the Niggerhead Ranch-vacationing governor of Texas. And the best way you can honor Dr. King's legacy, and show what is in your heart, is to vote for Perry. Because ... well, because MLK, that's why!
Not to be outdone, of course, we have Exhibit B: Newt Gingrich. That would be the same Newt who said, just two weeks ago:
"I will go to the NAACP convention, and tell the African-American community why they should demand paychecks instead of food stamps."This, of course, was his follow-up to months of declaring Barack Obama a "food stamp president" (because food stamps is a "black" thing, and also bad scary stuff); pausing briefly to suggest that poor kids get after-school jobs as janitors so they'll develop a work ethic, since they certainly don't learn such a thing from their lazy poor parents (because poor people are lazy and black, so bad scary stuff); and then returning again to that whole "food stamp president" thing again, just to really drive home that message to all the racists out there that Newt's their kind of guy who sees the world their way.
Gingrich told the audience that the first bill he co-sponsored when he came to Congress was to create the King holiday. He praised King for the “passion of his vision” and noted that King, as both a political activist and a pastor, was “totally committed to freeing human beings and saving human beings.”
Obviously, Newt is the natural heir to Dr. King's legacy, since Newt also believes in freeing human beings. Like, from the shackles of matrimonial commitment if one partner happens to get sick and the other partner happens to spot a really hot intern ...
Gingrich also pointed to King and other civil rights leaders’ persistence in the face of danger and resistance as they faced beatings and jailing in the segregated South. “No matter how often they were knocked down, they came back,” he said.
Newt, who has also been knocked down, has come back, a la Dr. King. Or at least he'd like to come back, if only the Republican primary voters would recognize, frankly, that he is the Smartest Guy Who Ever Lived and, on this one day only, he's an awful lot like Dr. King, except for the part about being committed or giving an eighth of a crap about saving human beings who aren't named Newt Gingrich. But other than that, you know, Newt and Martin are practically interchangeable.
Not to be outdone, Mitt Romney is also honoring Dr. King's legacy in his own special way:
Mitt Romney plans to tout his extreme immigration positions during a campaign stop in South Carolina today — with Kris Kobach, the author of Arizona’s and Alabama’s immigration laws, at his side. He will attack his competitors Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry for their softer immigration stances, which could resonate with South Carolina voters who support that state’s harmful immigration law.
Yeah, because nothing says "honoring the legacy of a civil rights hero" like stumping around South Carolina to talk about how his policies will discriminate against brown people way more than the half-hearted policies of his opponents, Mr. Niggerhead and Mr. Food Stamps. Gives you chills, doesn't it?
But it's cool. There's nothing special on the calendar about the third Tuesday in January, so tomorrow, they should all be back to just openly, blatantly hating people who aren't exactly like them.