MLK, Conservative Hero.

byronius, 2012/01/16 

Such effing bullshit. Such liars. Conservatives live in a completely manufactured reality, which is why their ideas and actions are so destructive and poisonous.

MLK and conservatives

by digby

Judging by a cursory look at the news this morning I see that the right wingers are fully engaged in the annual airbrushing of their real relationship to Martin Luther King. It’s sort of become a tradition.

Here’s Perlstein to set the record straight:

‘When Martin Luther King was buried in Atlanta, the live television coverage lasted seven and a half hours. President Johnson announced a national day of mourning: “Together, a nation united and a nation caring and a nation concerned and a nation that thinks more of the nation’s interests than we do of any individual self-interest or political interest–that nation can and shall and will overcome.” Richard Nixon called King “a great leader–a man determined that the American Negro should win his rightful place alongside all others in our nation.” Even one of King’s most beastly political enemies, Mississippi Representative William Colmer, chairman of the House rules committee, honored the president’s call to unity by terming the murder “a dastardly act.”

Others demurred. South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond wrote his constituents, “[W]e are now witnessing the whirlwind sowed years ago when some preachers and teachers began telling people that each man could be his own judge in his own case.” Another, even more prominent conservative said it was just the sort of “great tragedy that began when we began compromising with law and order, and people started choosing which laws they’d break.”

That was Ronald Reagan, the governor of California, arguing that King had it coming. King was the man who taught people they could choose which laws they’d break–in his soaring exegesis on St. Thomas Aquinas from that Birmingham jail in 1963: “Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. … Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.”

That’s not what you hear from conservatives today, of course. What you get now are convoluted and fantastical tributes arguing that, properly understood, Martin Luther King was actually one of them–or would have been, had he lived. But, if we are going to have a holiday to honor history, we might as well honor history. We might as well recover the true story. Conservatives–both Democrats and Republicans–hated King’s doctrines. Hating them was one of the litmus tests of conservatism.’



  1. byronius wrote,

    The conservative argument, consistent and ubiquitous, was that King, claiming the mantle of moral transcendence, was actually the vector for moral relativism. They made it by reducing the greatest moral epic of the age to a churlish exercise in bean-counting. Shortly after the 1965 Selma voting-rights demonstrations, Klansmen shot dead one of the marchers, a Detroit housewife named Viola Liuzza, for the sin of riding in a car with a black man. Vice President Hubert Humphrey attended her funeral. No fair! Buckley cried, noting that a white cop had been shot by a black man in Hattiesburg shortly thereafter; “Humphrey did not appear at his funeral or even offer condolences.” He complained, too, of the news coverage: “The television cameras showed police nightsticks descending upon the bodies of the demonstrators, but they did not show the defiance … of those who provoked them beyond the endurance that we tend to think of as human.” (In actual fact, sheriff’s officers charged into the crowd on horseback swinging rubber tubes wrapped in barbed wire.)

    Comment on 2012/01/16 @ 11:21 am

  2. Cat-eyes wrote,

    Listen to this speech by MLK condemning this country for the Viet Nam war exactly one year before he was assassinated. It was on public radio today. – look down the page to Democracy Now, PM, Monday January 16, 5:00 and click play. Truth and prescience.

    Comment on 2012/01/16 @ 7:44 pm

  3. Cat-eyes wrote,

    Please do make the effort to listen to this program – get the mp3 here:

    Comment on 2012/01/16 @ 7:58 pm

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