August 28, 2003

Co-opting King


Today is the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King's famous "I have a dream" speech. A New York Times article about this past weekend's celebration of the historic March on Washington, at which King gave his speech, noted that...

... the lengthy list of speakers this weekend reflected the diversity of causes ushered in over the last 40 years because of the legal and [sic] victories won in the 1960's. Leaders of groups representing gays and Arab-Americans were prominent on the program today.

Thomas Sowell had more to say about the speakers: Old rhetoric in new times.

There is nothing new about organizations and movements beginning with idealism and ending up as cynical rackets. Nevertheless, it was painful to listen to speakers who addressed a scattering of people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial for the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech.

Both the speakers and the small numbers of people gathered to hear them were a sharp contrast with the multitudes who covered the whole area around the Lincoln Memorial 40 years ago, when Dr. King spoke the immortal words that he dreamed of a time when people would no longer be judged by "the color of their skin" but by "the content of their character."

Yet the speakers on the 40th anniversary of that occasion clearly rejected the idea of a color-blind society. These were no longer demands for equal treatment but for special benefits, based on the color of their skin. Speakers like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson certainly can't afford to be judged by the content of their character.

Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs noticed a similar problem as he watched the celebration on C-SPAN: March on Washington Dishonors King.

This year has been hijacked by the Nation of Islam and other radical Muslim and pro-Palestinian groups. I just watched James Zogby [president of the Arab American Institute] tell one outrageous lie after another, followed by Muslim American Society head Mahdi Bray, who called President Bush "the little Pharaoh."

Martin Luther King was very pro-Israel, and in my opinion his memory is being dishonored by this display of pro-terrorist groups and terror apologists. He wouldn't have wanted to be associated with this. It's sad.

Posted by Forkum at August 28, 2003 07:01 AM