Since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. his legacy has lived on in the spirit of the American people. However, a lot of Dr. King’s legacy has been distorted and downright forgotten. We all know Dr. King was an advocate for peace, love, family and equality. But how about the policies he was in support of, like housing for the poor, anti-imperialism, worker’s rights, ending all forms of discrimination, among a whole host of other things? Since he has been canonized in America in the form of a federal holiday, individuals who are actively against policy positions that Dr. King held, somehow still herald him as a great American hero. Unfortunately, these individuals like the sanitized, white-washed version of Dr. King.
During Dr. King’s lifetime he was called all kinds of names like traitor, communist, nigger, anti- American…well you get the point. A lot of the mainstream Republican Party who sanctify Dr. King as a poster boy for how African-Americans should act seem to forget that if they did the Republicans would have a serious problem on their hands. Workers would be fighting to recognize unions, there would be serious pushes for housing projects in impoverished neighborhoods, income inequality would be at the forefront of the political discourse, healthcare for all, the anti-war left would be active in opposing all acts of aggression (even Obama’s), all these positions are what the Right wing hate. So ask yourself, why does the Right love Martin Luther King so much?
It is a great question actually. A lot of Republicans and people on the Right usually claim that Dr. King was a Republican (with no proof), but they fail to realize what Dr. King really stood for. Dr. King fought for the people, not corporations who seek to restrict the rights of workers. His image as a non-violent, non-threatening African-American allow the Republican Right to hold up a black man and say “See if you guys were all like this we would love you!” However, we know that’s not the case. As a matter of fact, if the black community mobilized themselves and started a second wave Civil Rights movement, the Bible-Belt Republicans would probably lose their minds.
The truth is Republicans and even the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party don’t understand Dr. King’s mission. If they did, Smiley and West wouldn’t be dismissed as some Obama haters, but recognized as individuals that tried to pick up the pieces after Dr. King’s death. If we are going to revel in Dr. King’s legacy and uphold him to such a standard we should listen to his words. We must take care of one another, end these wars of aggression, take care of the less fortunate, fight for workers rights and keep the DREAM alive. As of right now Dr. King’s dream has been deferred, but that is okay because this presents room for opportunity. I challenge Americans who honor Dr. King to help pick up the pieces, continue the fight against exploitation, discrimination, imperialism, hatred, poverty and corporate supremacy (a vestige of white supremacy in some cases). Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream and right now he is resting in peace, but the dream isn’t over, it has only just begun.