50 years ago , the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke his " I have a Dream " speech on the Mall in Washington ,D.C. to a crowd of over a quarter million Americans of all races. He spoke eloquently about the problems America faced, especially the plight of the race that was then called the "negro" race by Dr. King and others. His message was clear, for over 300 years, his people had suffered from the yoke of oppression by the majority, a majority who had some that were merciless in their pursuit of Separate and Unequal, Jim Crow, voter suppression, job and housing discrimination and other slights that left African Americans living the lives of Second Class citizens.
Turn the clock forward those Fifty Years. While Black Americans have made some gains in education, have joined the Middle Class in massive numbers thanks to Unions and Affirmative Action which history shows that Dr. King supported, in some ways that Second Class Citizen Status still hangs over the heads of a group of Americans who still long to reach that Dream that one man, one great man had for those citizens who were locked out of the mainstream American Society, unless they cleaned the homes and washed the cars of Mainstream Society. Now, despite the fact that Dr. King left a treasure trove of papers, speeches, and since he was a "pariah" to Conservatives until after his death, (one Ronald Wilson Reagan, then the Governor of California stated that Dr. King had it coming ), those same Conservatives have launched a massive effort to rewrite history and claim the Dream of a Black Man who was well to the left of the Democratic Party then and Now. The lies have been brutal, "He was a Republican", " He was Conservative", he would have hated his protege Jesse Jackson ( for doing pretty much what Dr. King himself did during his lifetime), Al Sharpton, and he would have not been a member of the so called "victim" industry. Odd, since he, like most Blacks then and now, were made victims of a society that was determined to lock them out of being anything but Second Class citizens whose children attended sub-standard schools, lived in sub-standard housing, who could not enjoy the American Dream that those same Conservatives felt that only belonged to one race.
I don't know what Dr. King would have done, I recall his speeches as I was not quite a pre-teen when he was brutally murdered on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis Tennessee on April 4, 1968 , but I do know that his letters and speeches and actions showed that he would not have liked the Republican Party of the latter 20th and early 21st Century any more than he liked the Republican Party of 1964 which he soundly denounced as leading American down a dark path of racism in a letter to the RNC concerning the candidacy of the "Father of Conservatism" Barry Goldwater.
If Dr. King hated Goldwater Conservatism, which wasn't even close to being as hateful and vehement as today's Tea Party Conservatism that has a drop of Ron Paul Conservatism disguised as Libertarianism, why would he have approved of today's GOP type Conservatism that has launched an all out PR war to again disenfranchise, smear, destroy the hopes of the same people that Dr. King staunchly championed?
History paints Dr. King as being a extreme Liberal , not the letter from a Birmingham Jail which Dr. King asks, " was not Paul an extremist for the gospel?", so by admission, he was an extremist for the causes he believed in which included Planned Parenthood, as well as Affirmative Action , and redistribution of wealth.
It makes one wonder how his dream can be glossed over ( I wanted to say Whitewashed, but we know that will lead to the victim cry of racist, which reverses the narrative of this article ) and morphed into a Dream of a Conservative America.
He was anything but Conservative. I recall Dr. King as an eloquent articulate well educated Black Man who epitomized the dream. Since his death, many Blacks have made gains in all areas, especially education, and in his death, he helped to create a group of Americans who were hungry to taste that Dream he spoke of.
If I were to say, Ronald Reagan was a left wing radical, the page would be full of detractors even though President Reagan once headed a Labor Union and sacrilegiously ushered in Amnesty for Illegal Aliens. But, I would be inundated with grievances which would swear that I was maligning a "hero" (questionable, Iran Contra contradicts the hero label) and rewriting history to fit my own narrative.
It is scurrilous and nefarious to try and steal a dream that doesn't belong to you, then play the victim role and claim that "Leftists are stealing the dream of a legend that belongs to you". It doesn't, it belongs to all Americans, but history proves that that Dream was for a downtrodden people , whom by the same voter suppression and eliminating of any "ladders" to help them climb out of the pit of oppression, was something that then and now you were vehemently, and sometimes violently against.
Dr. King's detractors were Conservative Republicans and the Conservative Democrat, while if one looks at the vote tally for the 1964 Civil Rights Act which he championed, his friends were the Liberal Northern Republicans and Democrats who voted to pass the bill. His enemies were Conservatives who, through Barry Goldwater were trying to move the playing field, and destroy the very few gains that his beloved race had made.
Has it changed? Some, but not much. We can speculate what Dr. King would and would not have done, but history brings forth the truth, he had a plan of action.
From his letters, we can extrapolate this, I am sure he would have made a speech on this anniversary and denounced most of the policies that those who try and co-op him claim he was for.
Everything is a twist and a slant or rewrite of a history that's everywhere due to the internet and libraries dedicated to his memory, but I cannot fathom why those who would pretend to embrace his ideals slander him so in their words, deeds, and actions towards his people.
In the words of his son, Martin Luther King III, " My father would not have supported a party whose mission is to disenfranchise minority voters in Florida and other states".
We know that, but some try and pretend otherwise.
If you want to honor his dream, feel free to do so, it is a dream for all Americans as he died marching against low wages for Memphis Unionized Sanitation workers, most then, whom were White and marched side by side with him. But don't smear his legacy with political underhandedness and subterfuge. It shows you never respected him in the first place.