Thursday, August 29, 2013
Reflections on The Historic March on Washington 50 Years and 1 Day Later
Yesterday was the 50th Anniversary of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s historic “I have a Dream” Speech during the Civil Rights March on Washington. The March and Speech represented an epochal change in America. They were soon followed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. President John F. Kennedy would have had difficulty getting Congress to enact these statutes. Tragically he was assassinated, as was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. a year later. President Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon Baines Johnson, previously presumed to be a racist Senator from Texas, jammed these measures through Congress. He believed in equality and integration. America was changed forever. The keynote speech yesterday given in the footsteps of Rev. King on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial was by President Obama, the African American President of the United States. America has changed for the better. President Obama in the 2008 Election carried the southern states of Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia. America is changed. The solid Southern states of Louisiana and South Carolina have elected an Indian man and an Indian woman as their governors. The South has changed. South Carolina elected in 2010 a Black Republican, Tim Scott, to Congress. Congressman Scott now serves as a Senator from South Carolina. Many of the Congressmen and Senators from the South last century were rabid racists. The third ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, James Clyburn, is an African American from South Carolina. South Carolina is changed. The number one movie in America, The Butler, features Black actors (Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker) as its stars. The American people have changed. The 1963 March on Washington was called by A. Philip Randolph and organized by Bayard Rustin – distinguished leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, leaders who have been lost to history. The 2013 March was partially organized by the Reverend Al Sharpton, a fire-breathing black racist. White racist police officers, exemplified by Bull Conner, often led the attacks on Blacks. The current Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder, is African American. Blacks have served as police chiefs of our largest cities. The United States Military was once heavily racist. President Truman ordered it to integrate. General Colin Powell, an African American, has served as Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as Secretary of State. Condoleezza Rice, an African American professor, also served as Secretary of State. African Americans have risen to leadership positions in American business, including IBM and Xerox, as well as presidents of some of America’s great universities. Sports and sporting venues no longer discriminate against Black athletes. Indeed, big time basketball is now primarily an African American sport with jokes about “White men can’t jump.” Not all the changes are good. The predominant black music 5 decades ago was the Blues, Jazz, Rock, and Barry Gordy’s Motown. Today’s music is hip hop, which glorifies the subordination of women and the killing of police officers intermixed with obscenities. Sadly, African American elected officials can be just as corrupt or licentious as they white counterparts. Yesterday’s activities received great publicity as the country recognized the amazing changes of the past half century. Yet, yesterday’s ceremonies are a poor shadow of the original. It became just another political rally on behalf of the Democratic Party. LBJ needed a large number of Republican votes for his measures to pass Congress. Indeed, the legislation was bi-partisan. Three dozen speakers appeared on the dais yesterday. Not one was a Republican. Both President Bush’s apparently declined for medical reasons, but a replacement could have been found. Instead, Senator Scott, the only African American Senator, was explicitly not invited to speak. The only Republican on the platform was President Abraham Lincoln, but he was stone mute. The speakers five decades ago mourned Medgar Evers. Yesterday’s speakers cried out for Trayvon Martin. There is no comparison. Medgar was assassinated because he was a black elected official. Trayvon was killed because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time - not because he was black. Rev. Sharpton may have been outspoken on the killing of Trayvon, but he is strangely silent on the two teenage black punks who brutally killed 88 year old veteran Delbert Beldon in Spokane a week ago. Dr. King strove for equality and integration. He wanted voting rights. Yesterday’s speakers were opposed to voter’s ID, apparently in favor of voting fraud. They spoke against “Stop and Frisk” and “Stand Your Ground,” apparently preferring to perpetuate black on black violence. Most significantly, 250,000 were present five decades ago when Dr. Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream spoke to all America. Only about 20-30,000 were present yesterday as the speakers spoke to themselves. Dr. King and President Obama are gifted orators. Dr, King’s cadence resonated throughout America, and through the decades. President Obama’s cadence was lacking in substance, as usual.