I’ll say it; I am proposing a ban on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. well, not entirely, just his I have a dream speech. Maybe not forever, but there is a need, at least in the short term, to ban that speech, particularly on the day set aside to honor the memory of the slain civil rights leader, at the very least until Barack Obama is out of office. Don’t get me wrong, I love the speech.
As I’m writing this Democracy Now is playing a newly discovered speech by King in London 1964. In that speech he dispels the emasculated image of a non-violent King spoon fed to the public. He is celebrating the struggles of Nelsen Mandela, then considered here and in Africa as a terrorist. He connects the apartheid struggle quite rightly with the civil rights struggle in the US.
50 years ago this year, King gave is landmark speech, “I have a Dream” speech. Think back to the American media before 2001 and the pivotal events that year. Certainly there was a right wing dominance of the media, but nothing as it exists today. In fact, it is one of the overlooked drivers of culture and politics of the myth of a “free” media. The media was used effectively to steer us into the Iraq invasion to prevent Condoleezza Rice’s “smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud.” It drove us into accepting the Patriot Act, mammoth tax cuts for the obscenely wealthy, more than a trillion in subsidies to oil companies in the last 10 years. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_subsidies, http://www.worldbank.org/html/fpd/esmap/energy_report2000/ch7.pdf)
To undermine our collective rights the right wing media continues to pit American against American. Where those of us on the Left do indeed our differences, the Right seeks to exploit them. The strategy is to eliminate dissent against the unprecedented assault on the poor and working families of all colors. The civil rights movement was and is the cornerstone for virtually all rights movements in America today. Many of the remaining or unresolved issues of the movement still resonate as powerful rallying cry for everything from immigrant rights, LGBT and government reform efforts. The right sees it rather like fighting a fire: Attack the base as a means of extinguishing the danger that the people might have control of their government and society again. Why else would every effort at reform-not the fake cover story for the wealthy parading as the Tea party-be attacked so ruthlessly?
King’s “I have a Dream” speech is now a bludgeon tool to assail grievances by Blacks on a host of issues, and the right’s sleazy lawyer excuse for justifying racism, profiling and infringement of civil rights. They twist into racist porn his words about we might join hands one day as sisters and brothers, to sow discord with his “beautiful symphony of brotherhood,” and that one day a man(and woman) will be judged for the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. That has been the rallying cry to roll back or discredit the civil rights movement. They distract the country with rants about Al Sharpton, but when did anything Al Sharpton ever did or said affected you or your family? By contrast, the red light and speed cameras, cuts to infrastructure and social safety nets, Social security, the high cost of schools and medical care, lack of properly paying jobs, the Trans pacific Partnership that will eliminate still more jobs never finds its place in public discourse.
The “I have a Dread” speech is no longer about civil rights, instead it has been refashioned by a nakedly partisan and regressive media to mean I have a white dream, and that is simply un-America…
Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com
The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting. Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.