Black conservatives are rankled by the liberal flavor of events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
They contend the left is appropriating the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s memory and willfully understating the degree of progress the United States has made in overcoming the egregious racial injustices that characterized an earlier era.
We do all realize that the original speeches were recorded, right? That there are still people around now who were around then? That Rep. John Lewis spoke 50 years ago, and spoke again this week? If you're peeved that the March on Washington was too darn liberal, take it up with them, and while we don't have separate drinking fountains these days you'd have to be a bit dense to not notice all the places where 50 years of progress still seems alarmingly tenuous. Republican up-and-comer Mia Love does a lovely job of staying on GOP message, I will grant her that:
“I believe Dr. King would be saddened by the way that some of these leaders are telling Americans that they are victims and their only hope for a better future is a government handout,” she said. “It does nothing but keep black Americans dependent.”
...which if I recall correctly was a good chunk of the conservative message at the time as well, so bonus points for a half-century of ideological consistency. She still doesn't have the full schtick down, though. Better
Republicans know that the final answer to any question on race is to declare that The Problem Has Been Solved, so we can all go home now.
“I think Martin Luther King’s dream has been fulfilled,” said Ron Christie, a Republican strategist who served as special assistant to President George W. Bush. “All men and women in this country are now treated equally. Legal discrimination has been outlawed.”
Christ, man, that one actually hurt to read, please tell me it at least hurt to say?
More below the fold:
Of course, if reasonable conservatives like Mia Love and Ron Christie had been in charge 50 years ago, irritating liberals like Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis wouldn't have been allowed to speak. They were liberal socialist communist Marxist troublemakers, after all. (And that was a concern, as I hope we all still know—Mr. King was considered a world-class troublemaker by all the folks who thought things were Just Fine, at the time, and by many, many people who knew things were not Just Fine but thought King's approach of loudly saying so was even worse, and there have always been a sizable number of cretins who thought that John Lewis getting his head bashed in by the Authorities was exactly what the pot-stirrer deserved, and have been perfectly willing to tell you so. Oh, and King was simply a grifter trying to rabble-rouse in order to pad his own status. Oh, and a Soviet infiltrator, can't forget that one. And was inciting violence against the good white folks. And everything else you can think of—remember, these people were hated by status-quo conservatives, hated and then some, which is why many of them ended up dead and not-at-all-coincidentally was the precise reason for the Republican-Democratic social divide that still exists to this day. Do those men the honor of remembering how hated they were, please, and how often they were attacked for being "anti-American," and how many of them were beaten or killed because the better and more reasonable people knew that they were just trying to "keep black Americans dependent" or trying to stir up trouble even though The Problem Had Been Solved. Grant them at least that much.)
If there's anything that conservatives can agree on, in fact, it's that leadership figures talking about racial issues is divisive and wrong, which is why Obama giving personal remarks on the Trayvon Martin case has gotten him branded a troublemaker, and a race-baiter, and all those other things:
[E]ven if those comments were lauded among Obama’s supporters, they were among several reasons why Herman Cain calls the president’s record on race relations “lousy.”
He added: “There were expectations that he would set the proper tone for race relations in this country. He has not done so. The things that he has been outspoken about have simply created more friction.”
Nobody's ever quite sure what the proper tone
of race relations should be or what "things" you should be outspoken about, but they're always pretty sure that whenever someone does
talk about it, they're being divisive. Every last time, it seems. That seems like a rather glaring problem, right there.
Things have changed in 50 years, to be sure. But people don't change very much, from decade to decade, which is why you can take quotes from one era and put them in another and often be hard pressed to tell the difference. In American politics the liberals are always the troublemakers, the conservatives are always the reasonable ones, and everyone is always full of opinions on how important historical Americans would obviously have taken their side of every argument.