Early Morning Open Thread: MLK Day

Eugene Robinson, in the Washington Post:

He would be an elder statesman now, a lion in winter, an American hero perhaps impatient with the fuss being made over his birthday. At 83, he’d likely still have his wits and his voice. Surely, if he were able, he would continue to preach, to pray — and to dream.
For the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., dreaming was not optional. It was a requirement of citizenship to envision a fairer, more prosperous nation no longer shackled by racism and poverty. It was a duty to imagine a world no longer ravaged by senseless wars. His most famous speech was less an invitation to share his epic dream than a commandment…

Next year will be the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, and I look forward to witnessing the commemoration led by America’s first African-American president during his second term in office.

24 replies
  1. 1

    Happy MLK day everyone.

    One of Obama’s greatest accomplishments has been to demonstrate that progress does happen. Painfully, perhaps. But it happens.

  2. 2

    Just a side note:


    TPM says that the White House came out against SOPA/PIPA in response to two online petitions. Maybe those petitions actually do some good.

  3. 3
    geg6 says:

    Dr. King would be appalled at where this country is today. The reaction to an African American president, the hunger for war and torture among too many Americans, and the stark income inequality would probably kill him if he hadn’t already been murdered.

    I celebrate the great Reverend’s memory, but despair for my country.

  4. 4
    Raven says:

    @geg6: That’s right, there has been absolutely no progress on any front and he would have turned into a down-in-the-mouth cynic who saw nothing but hopelessness. Very nice tribute to his message.

  5. 5
    John Weiss says:

    @geg6: Lighten up fellow! I suppose you didn’t experience the sixties. It’s slow, but we’re moving ahead.

    It’s better to laugh than cry. Dr.King was a patient fellow. He knew that it would take some time for things to work out. Take that to heart.

    We’ll not live long enough to see the end of the hate and misery: have faith and teach your children well.

  6. 6
    JPL says:

    @geg6: I’m thinking of you and Henry. Hugs to all.

  7. 7
    Phylllis says:

    We have come a far piece since Dr. King was with us. It’s hard to see the change when you are living it, but I think he would see the arc of the moral universe bending closer to justice.

  8. 8
    fuzed says:

    food for either thought or hateful comments – you decide:

  9. 9
    geg6 says:


    Oh, bullshit. I never said there hasn’t been any progress. But do you really think that Dr. King would be extolling all our progress in a time when political leaders who advocate the repeal of the Civil Rights Act are taken seriously, when income inequality is the worst since the Gilded Age, and when preemptive war and torture are acceptable? Really? The Dr. King I remember would be thundering away at it all.

    @John Weiss:

    Actually, I was there and aware (if young) during the Sixties (born 1958). I remember Dr. King well. So well that I remember that, after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, he turned to the economic issues facing the poor and the working class (exactly the reason he was in Memphis) and to opposing the Vietnam War. So I think I’m not too far off when I say he’d be appalled.

    Doesn’t take anything away from his and other civil rights leaders’ accomplishments. It’s just not looking at our situation with rose colored glasses and understanding that his fight isn’t over by a long shot.

  10. 10
    geg6 says:


    Thanks. I’m just waiting for my John to call me with a day and time for the vet to come over. It’s really his dog and he has to be the one to make the final call. Which absolutely has to be soon. It’s rather odd to me (since this is my first pet ever) that I’m having the same emotions I did when we were waiting for my mom to die from cancer. Very mixed up feelings, but sadness hovering over it all.

  11. 11
    Maude says:

    President Obama is a symbol of the dream.

  12. 12
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @geg6: I suspect he would have been overjoyed that the country elected a black man for president. He would have been frustrated at all of the hatred directed at Obama, but it would not have surprised him, since he had led others through a time when it was physical violence.

    What would have been nice is to have his voice telling Americans what the Republicans are doing.

  13. 13
    kindness says:

    Happy MLK Day. Who here has it off? I work for a national corporation who’se regional offices are more independent than is normal. Our S. Cal division recognizes MLK day as a national holiday and gets it off. Here in lowly N. Cal, they don’t. The union folk get it off. I’m non-union so I’m working today. They tell us they’ll give us a PTO day if we ask for it to celebrate. It isn’t the same thing. Now I’m not jealous. It’s just one of those things that sticks in ones craw. It doesn’t seem right that’s all.

    So for all you enjoying a well deserved day off in recognition of a great (and flawed) American, good for you.

    Go Niners.

  14. 14
    Mino says:

    Open thread, right. Well, Leiberman strikes again. After forcing the omission of enforcement language in the bill in order to get his vote, a second insurance company has defied Sebelius’s findings that their rate increases are unfounded. Get ready for the flood. There is no way we avoid addressing this issue again in the near future, regardless of the Supremes.

    But it should open the eyes of states beginning to deal with their wavers. Never trust an insurance agency to do what it has contracted to do. An increasing number of Americans are also adding never trust the government to make them.

  15. 15
    handsmile says:

    Anne Laurie:

    Next year will be the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, and I look forward to witnessing the commemoration led by America’s first African-American president during his second term in office.

    Thanks for making that connection! That’s an inspiring prospect. The alternative…naw, it’s too early on this holiday to dwell upon that.

  16. 16
    Roger Moore says:

    @John Weiss:

    Dr.King was a patient fellow. He knew that it would take some time for things to work out. Take that to heart.

    I think he put it best himself:

    We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop.
    And I don’t mind.
    Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

  17. 17
    gaz says:

    It’s mean to make people cry. Just sayin’

  18. 18
    Donut says:

    @John Weiss:

    I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. Dr. King was not patient.


    See also, Letter from a Birmingham Jail:


    By comparison to what were considered more radical factions in the Civil Rights movement, Dr. King was considered a “moderate.” But he by no means was willing to be patient about a damn thing:

    We have waited for more than three hundred and forty years for our constitutional and God-given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jet-like speed toward the goal of political independence, and we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward the gaining of a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. I guess it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize and even kill your black brothers and sisters with impunity; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see the depressing clouds of inferiority begin to form in her little mental sky, and see her begin to distort her little personality by unconsciously developing a bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son asking in agonizing pathos: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tip-toe stance never quite knowing what to expect next, and plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”; then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into an abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.

  19. 19
    KatinPhilly says:

    Of course this is his most famous speech for many great reasons, but it has unfortunately been hijacked by some of our most nefarious, racist dog-whistling forces, and a get-out-of-racist jail free card for far too many white people with less than good intentions.

    If I had the power, his Riverside Church speech against the Vietnam War would become as well known, and everybody should listen to that today to truly honor him. It is still relevant to our situation today, it still gives me chills when I hear it, and I do agree with those who say he would still be railing mightily against the pervasive injustices and militarism that continue both here and abroad.

  20. 20
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    Next year will be the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, and I look forward to witnessing the commemoration led by America’s first African-American president during his second term in office.

    So do I. And I hope we’ll have even more to celebrate then, too.

    OT: Anne Laurie. I haven’t heard from John yet, so I think we’ll just surprise him on Thursday. What do you think. ;-)

  21. 21
    Anne Laurie says:

    @TaMara (BHF): Yeah, let’s surprise him! :)

  22. 22
    clayton says:

    I look forward to witnessing the commemoration led by America’s first African-American president during his second term in office.

    Good to hear this, and in such plain language.

    And oh, yay, more recipes and bragging on Thursdays.

  23. 23
    patroclus says:

    Happy MLK Day everyone!

  24. 24
    The Sailor says:

    @Linda Featheringill: They can’t hurt. Major major companies also lobbied. [/Catch 22 humor]

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