WPCNR THE BIG EXTRA. News & Comment by John F. Bailey. Reprinted with a Retrospective from January 15, 2018:
You know what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would do if he were alive this morning?
You know what Dr. Martin Luther King would say, don’t you, in your heart, local leaders? You know what he’d do?
After the single worst thing any American President has ever said has embarrassed every decent American, what do you think Dr. Martin Luther King would have done?
I can see him now, joining the women marching to Washington to protest harassment of the nation.
I see him now marching down to the White House, walking up Pennsylvania Avenue to the White Wolf’s Lair (The White House), slowly in that dignified gait, arms linked with women, men, of all colors and nationalities, with swelling crowds growing behind him. They are not taking selfies. They are serious. This is not about them it is about saving America, and they are shouting slogans:
“EQUALITY, LOVE, COMPASSION FOR ALL–NOW”
“EQUALITY, LOVE, COMPASSION FOR ALL–NOW”
“NO TROOPS AT THE BORDER. NO TROOPS AT THE BORDER.”
“AMERICAN MERCY! AMERICAN MERCY!
“LET THE POOR, THE HUNGRY THE PERSECUTED IN”
“NO TAXATION WITHOUT EQUALIZATION”
“BOYCOTT THE BARONS”
”DON’T KILL THE SICK. KILL THE CUTS.”
“”LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.”
I can hear the crowds roaring behind him now.
When the guards stop him at the White House Gate. Washington is at a standstill.
He would give the greatest speech of his life.
The crowds would continue to gather marching from sea to shining sea to flood Washington with a human flood of decency, goodness and honor and respect…and gather until the President would agree to see Reverend King. The east coast would be jammed with traffic to Washington.
And if the President had the courage to meet Dr. King in the Oval Office. Mr. King would shake the President’s hand
Then Dr. King would raise his right hand in his trademark style and point to President Trump and say to his face:
“Mr. President, with all due respect, I am here on behalf of the American people in the name of God and out of your respect for America to withdraw your remark and apologize for your terrible remark which insulted every immigrant in this country, every Latino, every Muslim, every Irishman, Jew, German, every son and daughter of slaves.
By those words you shattered America, you broke my heart and those of millions of not only Americans, but those around the world. America was the place people could hope would welcome them and give them shelter from the storms tyranny and genocide.
Your apology will not undo the damage that terrible remark made but I call on you to make it as a start. I and thousands of Americans and even those who think that remark was justified (but know it was not justified or true in their consciences), know you must apologize, or the America we once knew will be lost for decades.
You must immediately Mr. President undo the damage your hurtful words have done with visits the countries your words have hurt and shamed with that remark.
I call on what is decent in you to forget the forces that shaped you into a person who would feel this way to make that remark. It is not too late to reach into your heart and find the love in it that for some reason was denied you long ago that has compelled you to say this thing and adopt so many attitudes and policies that appear to hurt millions in this country and around the world.
We the American People have been embarrassed by your words. Millions respect you as a leader, but I assure you a leader does not gain respect by the hurtful disrespect you showed last week.
I respectfully, Mr. President, ask you to apologize now and I will convey it to the American People and the World and accompany you on a crusade to heal this rift and restore the hope America once held to the world.
May I have your apology, Mr. President?”
The great Martin Luther King, Jr. is not alive today to make that powerful argument to the President in person.
He was killed in 1968 because he was that persuasive, dangerous to the establishment of the time (and he would have written a much better speech to confront Mr. Trump than I imagined above).
I can only shake my head in deep sorrow about an America I thought was gone that has returned viciously in the last year with all the excuses and reasons: segregation, redlining, slums were allowed to exist for a hundred years after the Civil War.
Another Civil War grew this last year: The New Robber Barons in $5,000 suits and the white shirts have returned from the grave to say what is good for them is good for America. That immigrants fleeing tyranny and death in their homelands are no longer welcome here. That children born as U.S. citizens of immigrants arriving here illegally can no longer stay.
We have evil men and women running Washington now, and no congressmen especially Republicans have any moral conscience or decency. Unspeakably evil. I cannot believe the President is going to ask National Guardsman to protect the border from the refugees from Central America. I can see the itchy trigger fingers of the National Guard shooting innocent children, can’t you? (I remember when the Ohio National Guard gunned down 4 students at Kent State. God forbid they do that again.)
We have neo-Nazi-Fascists running the country, who are following Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kamp strategies: Stack the courts, suspend constitutional rights, curtail the right to vote, but at least they haven’t started pulling persons that disagree with them out of their shops and places of business ( remember Kristallnacht? 1938, 80 Years ago–Nazi Germany). And making deals with their opposition then shooting them after they can power. The White House is full of minds that will sink to that cowardly level.
The Congresses have passed a tax bill which will steal from the poor and give to the rich. They want to cut social security and medicaid this year. They have crusaded against a free press. They have repealed environmental laws. Network neutrality laws What’s next? Food standards??
Like it was good for us in the days of rotten meat, snake oil medicine, unsafe railroads, segregated lunch counters, segregated schools, toney private schools. Unequal funding of schools. Cultivation of college for the elite.
But now Jim Crow America is back, joined by Jose Crow, and Mohammed Crow.
Hatred of the different is back. So back. It is sickening.
Disdain for the downtrodden, the unlucky and the underpaid is back. Disrespect for women is back. Violence against women is encouraged by the sick men who make our films, filmed in grisly detail.
If you want to see reality where America is headed: Watch the Nazi death camp films. The piles of bodies. The children’s shoes. The piles of bones. That’s who is running the government these days. Small-minded, greedy little rich boys and debutantes who have never loved anyone but themselves. They have the values of the Nazis, the Mongols, The Huns, The Romans. The Czars of Russia. The KGB.
I wonder what Dr. Martin Luther King, the greatest equalizer of them all, would have said or done in reaction to what America’s Worst President Ever has done in 440 days.
There are no champions like Dr. Martin Luther King today — anywhere across this land. Some speak but they do not act.
Where is the boycott–the nonviolent Dr. Martin Luther King strategy that starved the bigoted South out by not buying local retail products in segregated towns–and forced them to desegregate the schools.
How about boycotting Exxon, Mobil, and taking mass transit.
Boycotting the drug companies and the doctors writing prescriptions for death with opioids just for the money of it. How about boycotting the hospital profiteers who condone running up Medicaid bills, and the doctors who make hundreds just for sticking their heads in a hospital room. I know this happens. And you know who you are.
How about withholding your taxes and demanding being paid as independent contractors when you take a job? I’m just throwing out ideas here to give pain to Hurt, Incorporated — the crimes against humanity syndicate, the real life SPECTRE-of our time that is running America now and ripping it apart.
Look what they are doing, people: Refusal to help the afflicted because they are not “our” responsibility is back. If one of those stuffed shirts born with money from the brokerages and the corporations of shame ever had to trek miles, live in refugee camps in tents, they wouldn’t be able to take it for a day. They are weak. But in a concentration camp, your money will not help you.
The powerful are weak and insecure. When they fail they are the first to ask for help, declare bankruptcy, and get their loans reduced.
The weak and insecure always strike out at those weaker than they are. You know why? It makes them feel good.
Disrepect for women is back. It was demonstrated disgracefully every day in the media in 2016 by “candidates for President” who said they want to make ” America Great Again.” And when Mr. Make America Great Again became President, he escalated the war on women, here is how he is doing it:
How is disrespect for women, not wanting equal pay for an equal job going to make America great? It’s not. Women have to work in America today because the corporations do not pay the men enough to pay the cost of living set by the very corporations, banks, and services, and taxes laid on them by the governments themselves.
And where are the men and women of the cloth today, (as Dr. Martin Luther King did to his everlasting courage and credit), to refute and fight this horrible message accepted by the media and congressmen and senators as “positions,” “policies,”.
Now a lot of columnists and editors are fighting it and thank goodness they are having some effect.
For the ministers, rabbis, preachers, and society leaders today to be not speaking out against the Republican message of Fascist hate is a disgrace. Many Christian ministers are supporting such thinly disguised hate by not speaking out.
The Pope has spoken out and perhaps is the only one I can think of that has. Evangelists and ministers supporting some of the extravagant anti-women, anti-immigrant policies, and tax oppression policies should get a refresher course in Christianity.
Turn in your collars, gentlemen and ladies of the cloth. You are not worthy if you’re not marching.
The last 9 years have seen a revival of the Republican Party that resembles a revival of the Ku Klux Klan more than the Party of Lincoln.
They were lead by the sixteen low standard bearers who were educated enough to know better, kowtowing to the frightened, the fearful and the superior and the insecure– making popular once again hatred of the black man, the Jew, the Muslim, the Haitian, the Latino, the person who speaks Spanish, the immigrant, the refugee all those “threats” to America who work like dogs to survive because they believe in the American Dream.
The white establishment today like their version of the dream, which survives on Capitalism of exploiting the populace to make money by eliminating competition. Making deals. Creating investments without value. Using other people’s money. Using Russian help.
The real threat to America are the “leaders” the Sessions, the Grassleys, the Ryans, the Grahams who pour out this message to appeal to ignorance as Hitler poured it out to Germans in the 1920s and 1930s coming to power, blaming inferiors for Germany’s problems.
That fills me with a great melancholy. I wish there was ONE Martin Luther King today. ONE. Raise your hand stand up! Shout out! Before Trump makes it a crime to oppose government policy. Hitler did that.
Where is one Democratic elected official who would stand up to this phoney regime. Where are Democrats who will stop feeling sorry for themselves and articulate “A New Deal,” “A New Frontier,” “A new War on Poverty,” ”Not a War for Poverty.”
ONE religious leader, white, or black, Hispanic, or Muslim who would stand up as that Muslim woman stood up in a Trump rally and the big, brave man Trump threw her out of the rally. Trump is not brave he is a coward. It is so easy to hurt people. It takes no courage to be mean, all it takes is a mean spirit. It’s so easy with A gun and a club in your hand.
And how smart are all the business leaders who have been manipulated by Mr. Trump for decades. What geniuses, and now they are listening to him. Smart, not by a long shot.
Personally I hope they do shut the government down. Because for every day the government is closed,that is one day less the government will have to hurt you big time, hurt the environment, hurt the weak, punish those only wanting to live a peaceful, safe life.
“The Administration from Munich” efforts will be extolled by many as reforms long needed. What its supporters will not say, is why, because any progress in uplifting the poor and disenfranchised is greeted by the Republicans with roadblocks and opposition.
I guarantee you Dr. Martin Luther King would have been in the faces of Mr. Trump’s Hate Chorus a long time ago IF he were alive today. That’s essentially why Dr. King was murdered in cold blood like a black teen carrying a cell phone, today fifty years ago. (Assassination is a politically correct comfortable word for murdered.)
Donald Trump. Ted Cruz, every member of the Cabinet without hearts and compassion and, yes, our own Senators and representatives are cold people. The Supreme Court is hiding behind the semantics of what the constitution says and not ruling with their intelligence or hearts or conscience.
Today, the man, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is being remembered.
I am not that familiar with Dr. King’s life, but I do know that he, like other great men of America who have their days, Dr. King’s name stands for a value that America holds dear — or we like to think we do.
George Washington stands for honesty.
Abraham Lincoln for freedom
Columbus for discovery,
Dr. King’s name stands for Opportunity.
Let me add to that DR. KING stands for fairness. Compassion. A willingness to help and recognize wrong. To stop by the wayside, like Jesus did and mingle with the Lepers. There is no one running Washington today who would stop and mingle with the Lepers. Certainly not our President.
We would not have the civil rights laws Mr. Trump wants to overturn if not for Dr. King.
What would Dr. King say if he addressed the group honoring him today?
What would he say about “leaders” who would be leaders of this country standing for the death penalty; standing for no health care for the uninsured; standing for less regulation of the greediest, most corrupt most evil persons on earth?
The greed just piles up like a malignant cancer. Greed is cancer. Greed is not ambition. Greed destroys a nation as cancer destroys the body organ by organ.
You know what Dr. Martin Luther King would say, don’t you, in your heart, local leaders? You know what he’d do?
In the last weeks thousands of women went to Washington to protest in Washington about sexual harassment. Two weeks thousands of children marched demanding congress pass minimal restrictions on assault weapons.
Did our wonderful congress go out and meet them?
Donald Trump the President avoided marchers near Mar-El-Lago, America’s “Wolf’s Layer.” What a coward he is.
Start more marches. Speak truth to the weak, insecure, little men (very little men) who run America today. Join stand up march on down. I have it easy I just write this column and feel smug, that I am doing something to stop the march to First American Reich.
But I cannot see Dr. King heading the march I described at the start of this column, because someone shot him down in 1968, from a very long distance.
Since then no African-American or Latino-American or white man or woman has stepped forward to fill his voice with the same reason, the unswerving ability to tell it like it is. To shame us into doing what is right.
When I think of Dr. King, I think of the Selma march, I think of Birmingham, I think of Little Rock, Arkansas, where he lead the African-American community in demonstrations asking for the right of equal opportunity in America: a seat on a bus wherever they chose; a restaurant or hotel of their choice; the right to apply for a job without being turned down because you were black.
Blatant in-your-face-discrimination was publicized by Dr. King and America was shown it was not right.
It took fearlessness to do that.
Who today has that fearlessness that Dr. King and his followers showed all of America?
Where are the black and Latino and white, yes white leaders and journalists of today (Paul Krugman, Nicolas Kristof, Charles Blow, Gail Collins are)who will stand up and point these outrages out?
Dr. King would. That cost him his life.
Losing Dr. King has come home to roost. There are no Dr. Kings today.
When I write those sentences I just wrote, it seems incomprehensible to me that someone would deny another person the right to liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness.
When you think about it, it is an awful situation to think about. In the 50 years since Dr. King was murdered, the nation has come a long way in breaking down the visible barriers of racism based on creed and the color of one’s skin.
In one year, the Nazis in the White House have ripped that apart.
We’re going backwards now.
Today, though, the language one speaks and where you are from are the prejudices practiced today.
Somehow the sons and daughters of immigrants whose ancestors were immigrants have forgotten their roots.
Dr. King would point his finger at every person and say they should be ashamed for sacrificing the futures of those who have no futures unless we help them have one– and that is not giving them free internships then not supplying jobs — that, I am sorry is slavery.
And you know what? That’s what they do.
There are too many in Washington D.C. who want to throw them out of the country.
Today the barriers to Equal Opportunity are not subtle any more.
What would Dr. Martin Luther King say about that education disgrace if he were speaking to us Monday morning?
They are children, you simply cannot throw them away because they do not speak English.
This discrimination Dr. Martin Luther King would find hard to take. Ears would be ringing this morning.
He would bristle at lowering standards for minorities, because he would see right through that argument, saying:
“When are you going to raise the standards for my people? Because you don’t have to work any harder at educating them, if you do not raise your expectations for them.”
I think Dr. King would look around today and appreciate how Blacks and Whites, Hispanics and Jews, Catholics and Protestants, Muslims and other races mingle together in today’s America. Mingling nicely is not enough
But, if he was alive today he would never let the Republican candidates and the Democratic leadership in Washington get away with the prejudiced stereotyping of the hungry, the poor, America’s illegal residents that I have heard the last year
I think he’d observe we are all becoming more appreciative and respectful of each other– again with concern about the confrontation rhetoric
But, I do not think he would like today’s buzz word :”diversity” and our smugness about our diversity.
He would say that’s nice, but let’s keep our eye on the prize, to borrow the wonderful motto of the White Plains Department of Public Safety, let us treat all with integrity, professionalism, respect, and to that add opportunity.
He’d shame the banks now refusing to give mortgages to many. He’d point out the hypocrisy of holding students to pay off hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans, falsely promoted by higher education, essentially indenturing students for the rest of their adult lives while giving away money to Wall Street, the banks, and oil companies
He’d save particular scorn for the bloated banks (and power utilities) paying dividends to shareholders while foreclosing on persons who have lost their jobs. Where is the outcry of leaders of any stripe today on THAT outrage? There has not been such an outcry, because it’s still going on.
Would Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. approve?
He’d remind us that Jesus Christ chose to minister to the “hardcore” of his time. He went into their midst. He healed them and made them fishers of men.
Today there are no fishers of men. Today we throw men, women, children back into the sea to drown. We are threatening to shoot them down at the border by implication of John Wayne Trump’s tweets.
We ignore Puerto Rico because it is a Latino nation–and right now it is creating a health crisis for the rest of the country because electricity is not all on yet and pharmaceutical a plants are shut down..
The way to honor Dr. King today is to honor the afflicted, help the troubled with dignity, not humiliate them, not shun them, not “throw them out.”
The way Dr. King would view our world today?
He’d observe that “we need a lot of work.”
He’d point that out with his long finger pointing right at us.
He’d say, “I still have a dream. But you are tearing it apart.”
He’d be pointing his finger at the double-standard of justice for the minority youth and the wealthy institutions that exists today.
He’d be calling upon all to keep our eyes on the prize and not on the power, the prestige, and the people who would steer us away from what needs to be done.
We need to make the comfortable uncomfortable, and comfort the afflicted.