Mangling MLK’s Dream
By Matthew Vadum
President Obama hijacked a solemn national occasion yesterday, fomenting racial resentment and making crass appeals to envy on the 50th anniversary of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech.
In his mercifully brief 29-minute oration on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Obama attacked Republicans without naming them. Obama and other Democratic politicians routinely beat up Republicans rhetorically. They claim Republicans want to prevent blacks and other minorities from voting, and accuse them of being fiscal tightwads who refuse to spend enough on education, the courts, the correctional system, and whatever else is on the Left’s hit parade that day.
“To secure the gains this country has made requires constant vigilance, not complacency,” Obama said.
“Whether by challenging those who erect new barriers to the vote, or ensuring that the scales of justice work equally for all, and the criminal justice system is not simply a pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails, it requires vigilance.”
Of course Obama hasn’t lifted a finger to improve black educational outcomes or to strengthen the black family. Left-wing policies have made things worse, but Obama refuses to admit that. He prefers to use social misery to generate race hatred which can then be used to advance his political program.
Obama declared that “black unemployment has remained almost twice as high as white unemployment,” but somehow failed to mention that it is his policies that are largely responsible for those high unemployment rates.
The Divider-in-Chief made sure to imply that King’s views were the same as his own, while rattling off what, a half century later, still happens to be a laundry list for today’s Left and the labor movement:
“Dr. King explained that the goals of African-Americans were identical to working people of all races: ‘decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old age security, health and welfare measures — conditions in which families can grow, have education for their children and respect in the community.’”
Obama mocked those who believe the powers of the federal government should not be unlimited and declared that Americans have “the right to health care.” He stated:
“There were those elected officials who found it useful to practice the old politics of division, doing their best to convince middle-class Americans of a great untruth — that government was somehow itself to blame for their growing economic insecurity; that distant bureaucrats were taking their hard-earned dollars to benefit the welfare cheat or the illegal immigrant.”
The president made sure to pull out his favorite class warfare rhetoric, mixing a smattering of truth with an ocean of leftist propaganda:
“For over a decade, working Americans of all races have seen their wages and incomes stagnate, even as corporate profits soar, even as the pay of a fortunate few explodes. Inequality has steadily risen over the decades. Upward mobility has become harder. In too many communities across this country, in cities and suburbs and rural hamlets, the shadow of poverty casts a pall over our youth, their lives a fortress of substandard schools and diminished prospects, inadequate health care and perennial violence.”
Although Obama has always been the candidate of the crony capitalists of Wall Street and the lobbyists of Washington’s K Street, he likes to pretend he’s fighting for the proverbial little guy to reinforce his populist image. Markets are fundamentally unfair in his view and those who believe in the power of markets to serve the needs of Americans are by definition corrupt, in his mind.
These “entrenched interests” who benefit from “an unjust status quo,” resist
“any government efforts to give working families a fair deal — marshaling an army of lobbyists and opinion makers to argue that minimum wage increases or stronger labor laws or taxes on the wealthy who could afford it just to fund crumbling schools, that all these things violated sound economic principles.”
America can follow the path of “change” that Obama supports, which includes “good jobs and just wages,” or it
“can continue down our current path, in which the gears of this great democracy grind to a halt and our children accept a life of lower expectations; where politics is a zero-sum game where a few do very well while struggling families of every race fight over a shrinking economic pie.”
This isn’t the first time Obama has tried to appropriate a national observance in order to advance his political goals. In 2009, the Obama White House was behind a cynical, coldly calculated political effort to erase the meaning of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks from the American psyche and convert Sept. 11 into a day of eco-leftist celebration and statist idolatry.
Obama, who rarely fails to inject race into a political fight, no matter how inappropriate, has long regarded America as a deeply flawed, profoundly racist country. He has attacked the Constitution as an outmoded, obsolete document written by white men. He has called opponents of affirmative action racists.
His latest speech was more of the same, but stated with a bit more eloquence than usual.
The organizers of the event yesterday snubbed America’s sole black senator. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) was not invited to speak.
On hand were ex-presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, who, on their respective journeys to the White House, both worked closely with segregationists who fought tooth and nail against King.
Carter was politically aligned with staunch segregationists George Wallace and Lester Maddox. Clinton’s political mentor was the late Sen. J. William Fulbright (D-Ark.), who voted against the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Both former chief executives used the occasion to boost the leftist agenda by misrepresenting a recent Supreme Court ruling on election integrity.
“I believe we all know how Dr. King would have reacted to the new ID requirements to exclude certain voters, especially African-Americans,” Carter said. “I think we all know how Dr. King would have reacted to the Supreme Court striking down a crucial part of the Voting Rights Act just recently passed overwhelmingly by Congress.”
Clinton followed suit. “A great democracy does not make it harder to vote than to buy an assault weapon,” he said to applause.
When given the chance, Obama’s predecessor in the Oval Office refused to cheapen the 40th anniversary of the King speech by using it to promote his political agenda.
On Aug. 28, 2003, President George W. Bush issued a brief statement acknowledging King’s “dream that people would be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin.” Bush said America has come a long way since 1963, “but there is still work to do to realize Dr. King’s dream.”
On “this important anniversary,” he encouraged “all Americans to continue the march to equality and opportunity for all.”
On the 30th anniversary, President Bill Clinton used the occasion to push his political program but he was less in-your-face and obnoxious than Obama was yesterday.
On Aug. 28, 1993, Clinton said “jobs and freedom are inextricably linked,” and touted his big government agenda of “health care that’s always there,” along with expanded “opportunities for education, training, and national service.”
Obama, as always, is in a league of his own.