erik lundegaard

The Way the Right-Wing Has Always Supported Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here are a few lines from Rick Perlstein's book, “Nixonland,” which I read yesterday, and which are particularly appropriate today—both MLK Day and the second inauguration of Barack Obama. They're reminders of how much, and how little, things have changed:

“It is my firm belief, and of all my neighbors, that King should be taken into custody ... Today, the insufferable arrogance of this character places him on a pedestal as a dark-skinned Hiter.”

“When greedy Mr. Hitler started taking over other countries, people at first thought 'give him a little more, then he will be satisfied' ... Give greedy Mr. King a little more freedom then he will stop. Isn't that what we are told today?”

--Constituent letters to U.S. Senator Paul Douglas (D-IL), during the battle for opening house in the summer of 1966; from “Nixonland,” pp. 122 and 123

These days, of course, everyone evokes Dr. King for their own cause, even, absurdly, the NRA. That's how things have changed. At the same time, every prominent black leader, particularly those known for non-violence and compromise, are still being compared to Hitler. That's the way we're hearing the same damned shit.

Back in the day, Steve Kaplan, editor-in-chief at “Minnesota Law & Politics,” used to include a section in the year-end “Turkeys” issue called “Who's Being Compared to Hitler This Year?” It's the comparison that's always absurd and never goes out of style.

Martin Luther King, Jr. marching for open housing in Chicago

Martin Luther King, Jr. after his march for open housing in Chicago was disrupted by violence. He said he'd never seen hatred—not in Alabama or Mississippi—like the hatred he saw in Chicago.


Posted at 11:14 AM on Mon. Jan 21, 2013 in category Politics  
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