Stop Paying Lip Service to Dr. King’s Legacy

President Obama and Dr. King

(Photo Credit: BET)

Too often we hear people quoting lines from various speeches Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered, and they express their commitment to working to achieve and honor King’s legacy.  Unfortunately, too many people who quote Dr. King’s lines are only paying lip service to his true legacy.  Although King envisioned a day when America would have a Black President, he would be disappointed with President Obama’s economic record.  The national unemployment rate for Black is 13.4%.  In many major cities across the nation that are heavily Black, the unemployment rate is at least double what it is for Blacks nationally.  While all of the blame cannot be placed on President Obama for his horrible economic record, most of the blame does have to fall squarely on his shoulders.  This is the same President who said that he has the ability to bring people together across party lines to accomplish “change you can believe in.”

President Obama promised that he could come to Washington, D.C. and work across partisan divides, breaking political gridlock in Washington, D.C., to pass substantive legislation that would ameliorate Americans economically, socially, educationally, professionally, and personally.  When is this going to happen? President Obama has had over four years to make significant progress toward making this happen.

Although many people desired to romanticize his speech about Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, the reality is President Obama has failed miserably in providing economic uplift for Blacks and the poor—the very people Dr. King gave his life for and the very people the March on Washington supported.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

It’s time for more people to stop being mesmerized by those who employ Dr. King’s words, and start to hold them accountable for having deeds and records evincing a real commitment to fulfilling King’s dream.  King was not a man who simply talked and gave speeches around the nation—he was a man of action.  He had such a deep love for marginalized people that he found it necessary to risk his own life advocating for them.  Dr. King was not interested in self-aggrandizement.  He found it more essential to prioritize the collective good over any personal ambition.

Dr. King strongly opposed war, which is seen mostly clearly in his opposition to the Vietnam War.  King warned America of the dangers of her rising militarism.  On the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, President Obama expressed how great of an influence Dr. King had on his life.  Unfortunately, this great influence is not materializing in his actions.  President Obama is now asking Congress for authorization to use military force against Syria.  As a candidate for President in 2008, President Obama said that he would always rely on diplomacy and talk with all world leaders, including those who are not friends of the United States.  What a dramatic change: diplomacy advocate to warmonger.  Would Dr. King be proud of him on foreign policy?  No.  Would Dr. King be proud of him on the economy?  No.

Gracie Mansion, Rev. Martin Luther King press ...

Photo by Dick DeMarsico. (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

For those who continue to support every action of President Obama, they’re no better than he is.  You cannot be truly committed to the legacy of Dr. King and agree with every decision of President Obama, especially those economic and foreign policy decisions diametrically opposed to King’s economic and foreign policy positions.  While this piece is not attempting to get you to discontinue your support of President Obama, it does call you to hold him accountable to aligning his actions with the words and actions of King.

Until President Obama gets legislation passed that truly advances King’s dream, he will continue to pay lip service to the dream and not be a foot soldier in the mission to help Americans fully experience the dream.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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116 comments

  1. Great post very informative. Mr. Obama so far has spend 150 million dollars on his vacations and appeared on every night comedy show. He failed to help the poor , the students ,the injured heroes ,the service men and women. He quote the giants but he doesn’t follow their footsteps.

      1. I’m glad somebody sees the big picture and not just the sheeple who think he’s revolutionary in a positive light. Far from it. He promised change and it was delivered in a powder keg. If anyone has studied basic economics, they would know that socialism does not work. Look at Canada’s healthcare system, is it practical? No. I saw a great bumpersticker that read, “Work Harder! Millions on welfare depend on you.” If that doesn’t sum it up I don’t know what does. I didn’t go to school to give half my paycheck to someone who is too apathetic to get off the couch and get a job.

  2. Living up to ideals is difficult. Most people are lenient on what should be painfully obvious. When I went to Brooklyn College there was not a Black student enrolled. They had been that discriminating. We marched, we protested and we pleaded and coaxed and finally it changed. Now it is a college of diversity and giving all a chance to become a college success. It is one of the things I am a little proud of. I did not do it for King, although it made sense. I did it for in our constitution it states, all men are equal.. Later I would push to include women but they are superior. That is the phrase that meant the most to me. If all people are equal why not equal chance. I think King would have walked with us, he was that type of guy.

    1. Excellent statements. I contend that Dr. King would have marched with you all in this effort to break down discriminatory barriers. Dr. King was the greatest advocate for freedom and equality that has ever lived. I applaud you for your efforts to advance progress, and Dr. King would be proud of you.

  3. What about the thousands trapped in the inner city? He would have been the perfect person to propose solutions to deal with the economic problems. I think unions are the only solution to raise wages and provide some clout for average workers.

    1. Yes, for the many thousands trapped in the inner cities, President Obama needs to offer them real solutions. Dr. King was concerned about those trapped in the inner cities as well. Unions can play an important role in advocating for fairness for the average worker, but unions are only a small part of what the average worker needs in today’s economy.

  4. Well articulated and interesting points. I would be curious though to see what the unemployment numbers for African Americans were when Obama took office as compared to the 12.5% you cite now. A racial gap in unemployment is of course unacceptable and clearly it has not been eliminated during Obama’s tenure, but I do wonder if it has changed at all.

    1. Thank you! Right now, the unemployment rate for African-Americans is 13.4%. At the end of President George W. Bush’s administration, the unemployment rate for Blacks had decreased in such a way to end it being twice that of Whites, but under President Obama, it has returned to being a little more than double that of Whites. You can see a brief piece that cites Pew Research data that evinces this: http://washingtonexaminer.com/under-obama-black-unemployment-back-to-twice-the-white-rate/article/2534597

      1. Thanks for the informative follow-up! That’s an interesting article and report. Based on the data, I don’t know how much stake I would put in things having been actually improving at the end of the Bush administration (as opposed to the recession hitting with different delays), but I agree that it certainly has not improved during the Obama administration either.

        1. No problem. President Obama made a promise to improve economic conditions for all people, including African-Americans — the group suffering most when he took office. He has not, however, accomplished anything significant that improves the economy for any group of Americans. He has missed many opportunities that so many people had such high hopes that he would capitalize on.

  5. I share your disappointment with the pace of change during President Obama’s time in office. But I’m willing to give him his full two terms to get his agenda done. Four to five years is not a lot of time when dealing on the scale of an entire country. I predict that he will leave office with the economy booming and jobs being created at an increasing pace. ObamaCare will be well embedded in our lives by then, a boon to the many at the expense of the very few. Women and minorities will have continued their ascent within the power structure, and our long, slow slog towards civil rights equality will be yet again further along. But you are right to want to keep the pressure on.

    1. Karl:

      I can only hope that you are right, but I don’t see any indications that those things you said will come true. He has to find ways to create bipartisan solutions. Bipartisan solutions are essential to getting legislation passed, and I don’t see him offering ideas that will have enough broad bipartisan support to get essential legislation passed.

      1. A better economy is baked in as long as Washington keeps its policies reasonable. The US has discovered enormous amounts of oil and gas, so much that wells aren’t producing because we don’t have the infrastructure (yet) to get it to market. We’ve been exporting gasoline and diesel fuel for a year, a big change. We have the cheapest natural gas in the world, and nat gas is a big part of making basic chemicals, such as fertilizer. Cheaper fertilizer means cheaper grains. Basic foods become cheaper, grain exports boom, and companies like Deere ramp up manufacturing. The farm sector booms. Car sales are already booming. In 2015, the Panama Canal will open its expanded locks. Today, container ships can take 4000 containers thru the Canal, but that will increase to 14,000. East Coast ports will boom. There is a lot of good baked in for the economy. National debt is shrinking. Obama can help with policy, such as job training in community colleges, or programs like Nixon’s CETA. (off-topic: was Nixon the last liberal president?) Obama can fix the bridges and roads so that we can transport the big increase in commerce that is coming. I’m very optimistic about the economy, and hopeful that Washington policy enhances the coming boom, not disrupts it.

        1. I certainly hope the things you mention do manifest themselves. I don’t see Nixon as a liberal; therefore, I don’t see him as the last liberal President. President Obama is a liberal President and so was Bill Clinton. I guess it always comes down to how one defines “liberal.”

          1. “I don’t see Nixon as a liberal; therefore, I don’t see him as the last liberal President. President Obama is a liberal President and so was Bill Clinton. I guess it always comes down to how one defines “liberal.””

            While I despised Nixon during his presidency, he did leave us a host of programs like the EPA, Title IX for women, detente with China, examples of job creation and job training that worked, exit from Vietnam, and a host of other policies that the Republican right has been trying to undo ever since. He seemed conservative at the time because he succeeded the last New Dealer, LBJ. I bring it up because in terms of policy accomplishments, Nixon got a lot done that in its time was left of what either Clinton or Obama did or has accomplished. Clinton deregulated a lot of FDR’s economic protections, not a liberal act and certainly a big contributor to the Great Recession. Obama seems right of center to me, but I still hope he’ll accomplish great things.

            1. I certainly don’t see Obama as right of center, but I see your point about Nixon. Nixon is, at least, a moderate Republican. Bill Clinton is, at least, a moderate Democrat. Nixon did accomplish a significant amount of things. He is also the person who signed the Executive Order creating Affirmative Action. I hope Obama accomplishes great things in his remaining years too — our nation needs him to accomplish great things.

  6. Because of the ‘bomb Syria’ promotion, I was upset enough ahead of President Obama’s participation in the celebration of King’s memory that I couldn’t watch. I was a strong, enthusiastic, supporter of Obama in his first candidacy, and found myself quietly alarmed when he announced first financial advisors. I effectively lost trust when he arbitrarily rejected a seat to ‘single-payer’ presenters at the “all stakeholders” health care reform conference, and dropped the public option concept almost immediately once it was introduced. The American public was prevented from hearing single-payer proposals, statistics, and arguments.

    I tried to maintain trust beyond that, but regret to say that – to my observation – he seems in some state of awe or enchantment with wealth/power of the Bill Gates type. (I’m particularly unimpressed with Gates whom, I gather, is a steady promoter of dismantling rather than repairing public education. Gates has become a living model of Carnegie and Rockefeller, to me.)

    I’m not saying these power-players are intentionally ignorant or insensitive – but am suggesting they’ve come to mistake their own success in wealth/power as confirmation of deep wisdom.

    As King said: American needs “a revolution of values”. (I posted a blog also on Obama’s ‘foot in each camp’ inconsistency. King’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech was my focal point.)

    Maybe, just maybe – the shift from bombing Syria, to an international commitment to destroying the chemical weapons, will be one of the ‘macro level, paradigm shifting points’ this nation needs.

    Not excusing other nations from their hypocrisies – just wanting to deal with ours! And agreed, agreed: it’s important to keep the pressure on, including calling out hypocrisy.

    1. I very much appreciate your detailed response. It is crucial for Americans to keep steady pressure on President Obama to deliver on his promises. We also need to place pressure on members of Congress to deliver the things we know need to be done to improve our economy and other significant matters. It was public opinion (the American people) who caused President Obama to shift his position on Syria. He was telling our elected officials to vote for the authorization to use military force even if the people who elected them opposed it. We must work together to improve our nation and President Obama must take the lead.

    1. I very much like the POTUS and had so much hope for what his historic presidency could have offered America. I’m not a fan of his policies, however; it’s never about the political figures for me — it’s always about the policies. Mitt Romney’s team will not be in office in 2 years, and nothing can be worse than what we’re experiencing right now.

      1. Let me clarify, I am not a huge fan of all his policies either. By Mr Romney, I did not mean him exactly but his like-minded bedfellows. You think this is the worse? I say it can get a whole lot worse but pray what you say is true.. The only way to go is up then..
        Thank you for the respectful exchange!!

    1. The bible teaches us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Dr. King was not a perfect man. He was a great man, though. His good deeds outweigh his bad deeds. Yes, he committed adultery and got forgiveness for his adultery. His adultery, however, does not define who he is. Normally, the people who limit Dr. King to being simply an adulterous man are racist people.

      1. Nope – not racist. Though you probably call anyone racist who speaks out against an African American. Am I racist because I don’t agree with Obama? Sadly, many people have lost the actual definition of the word and just throw it around to make people mad. I’m not a fan of JFK or Clinton or anyone else who cheats. I just happen to believe that a Reverend should be held to a higher standard. Plus he was a serial adulterer and if you ask for forgiveness and keep committing the same sin that doesn’t really do a lot for me in terms of respecting you as a person. Just my opinion. You don’t have to agree (and I won’t think you are racist).

        1. Julie, I actually don’t care what you have to say about Obama because I’m not a supporter of his. I do, however, see how small-minded you are when you cannot see Dr. King as more than an adulterer. Dr. King is a man who accomplished such great things and all you can focus on is his adultery. Now, there’s something wrong with that picture. You sound very self-righteous. You need to read some of the writings of Paul in the New Testament.

          1. Paul is one of my favorite New Testament authors and I’ve read Philippians multiple times. I’m guessing you’ve never been cheated on or abused. I have. And I’m putting myself In Dr King’s wife’s shoes and I just think she deserved more. Separating the adulterer from the reverend isn’t possible for me. He’s the same man. I just think the world should be aware of the whole picture not just the ‘perfect’ side of him.

            1. Even those who respect him most, like Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, have written about his infidelity to his wife. The mainstream media has had a fascination with making Dr. King appear like a superhero. I have no desire to sanitize his life and legacy. I want all of his life to be revealed, as Dr. Michael Eric Dyson has unveiled. When we discuss King’s infidelity, we have a chance to see that he was human just like the rest of us. Because I am a bible scholar, I know that you have sinned many times too. Should I only view you through the lens of your sins? If you wanted to view the “whole picture” of Dr. King, then you would have discussed his importance and then expressed your frustrations with some of his shortcomings — not simply focused only on his shortcomings.

      2. I agree with you wholeheartedly Julie. Just because you disagree with someone of a different race, does not make you a racist. Word to the wise, or less than, Obama is HALF black, did the rest of America forget the other half. I actually had high hopes for his presidency, but I am disappointed. He’s the democratic Bush, nothing more. I could care less if he was blue, but if his agenda does harm to the country, that’s when I have a problem with it. So for those to make a provincial statement like, “You’re a racist, because you disagree with me.” don’t see the big picture.

        1. The big picture is to analyze how the values, principles, ideas, and ideals of Dr. King can inform us about how we should be treating one another in our current time and how we should be working together to promote the advancement of everyone — not focusing on his personal shortcomings.

      3. So why did you insinuate that I am racist? That seems like a cheap shot as opposed to an educated response. It’s an emotionally charged word and I’m sad for you that you had to use it as an argument. And I still question how we can value someone’s ideals who doesn’t practice those same ideals in his own life. That’s my only point. I’m not saying that he wasn’t great or didn’t do great things or that he wasn’t revolutionary. I’m in full agreement there. You can judge me by my shortcomings by all means if that’s what you want to do. I know who I am inside and in the end, God is the only one who needs to judge me. And the same for Dr. King. I have my opinions about him and I have a right to state those opinions but I have no authority or desire to condemn him or judge him. I am just stating my belief that his actions didn’t match his words and thus that causes a problem in me idolizing his work. I also just feel for his wife and family. Someone has to. They don’t deserve to be sacrificed for the greater good.

        1. No one is asking you to idolize his work. His wife consistently expressed her eternal love for her husband. When you say that you “have no authority or desire to condemn him or judge him,” this doesn’t make sense based on the comments you made, which are only negative attacks against him. I would not have any viable way of legitimately knowing your race, so there’s no suggestion that you’re racist. My problem with you is your thinking reflected in your comments are simple-minded. They fail to acknowledge the whole of Dr. King, instead of a part of him. There were people in his wife’s family who were there to support her when Dr. King cheated on her and she truly forgave him each time. If she forgave him, so should you. As a person who has indicated that she is a Christian, then you should be immediately willing to forgive Dr. King for his shortcomings. Again, I’m not suggesting you’re a racist — I’m stating that you’re a simple-minded person.

          1. You are definitely entitled to that opinion especially without knowing anything else about me. Immediate forgiveness of sins is not a requirement to be a Christian and I’m not so sure that it’s up to you to tell me what I should and should not do as one. That’s between myself and God. I’m only pointing out that MLK was flawed and those flaws are in direct opposition to the message that he spoke which I personally believe to be hypocritical. You clearly disagree which is fine and the point of discourse and a blog but bringing up racism, personal attacks on my character and questioning my Christianity are hardly productive ways of conducting an argument. I found it necessary to bring up another perspective into the MLK idolatry conversation. Perhaps when you’ve had some more life experience that forces you to walk in another’s shoes for awhile and step out of the box which you seem reluctant to give up, you’ll be able to see both sides of the coin. Peace be with you.

            1. You have to do more studying of the bible. Jesus commands us to forgive one another immediately, as he died to immediately forgive the sins of every person. Again, I never called you racist. I called you simple-minded. Now, I’m beginning to think you’re delusional, considering you keep saying I’ve called you a racist.

              1. So if you believe I’m lying, which is a sin, shouldn’t you immediately forgive me and not judge me by my shortcomings? Ironic how you can preach it but not practice it. And I never said you called me racist. I said you implied it and that you brought up the racism term. Anyone who reads your blog can infer that or not. It’s all about individual interpretation.

                1. I’ve already forgiven you. You need to engage in more close readings of scripture, and you need to purchase more biblical aids to help you interpret scripture properly. I cannot believe that you told me I was sinning by simply believing that you lied to me. You just wrote on your blog that I called you a racist, and now you’re trying to say you didn’t. Now, saying it can be “inferred.” One of the subjects I teach at the university level is English, and I know how problematic inferences can be. One should, therefore, ask for clarity before “inferring” something like you did. Let me make it clear again: I don’t think you’re a racist. I think you have demonstrated a limited perspective on Dr. King. That limited perspective is likely a result of not having the necessary background about his life and legacy to be a creditable critic of him and his work. Have you ever thoroughly studied Dr. King before at the higher education level?

                  1. So how is your forgiveness and continued dislike and calling me delusional any different that my forgiveness and dislike of Dr. King? And I did not say that you sinned – I said you believed that I had sinned by lying. Please don’t twist my words.

                    Regardless of my education, I’m allowed to form and express options about anyone or topic. If you find them uneducated, that’s your right.

                    Why does it matter to you so much that my opinion of him differs? Especially if you believe me to be simple minded? It’s just my opinion that I shared in a forum that you opened up to the public.

                    Also I did not intend for you to believe my blog stated you called me a racist. I wanted it to discuss how you brought racism up in a conversation where it wasn’t merited. I’d be happy to remove the offending section where you feel I’m saying you called me the word ‘racist’ if you can point it out to me.

                    1. If answering or acknowledging any of my other points is too difficult or “beneath” you then I will let the discourse lie as well. Thanks for the lively discussion and peace be with you..

    2. I do believe that a vast majority of people would be appauled at the rate of adultery in this country and across the universe. Does committing adultery tarnish a person’s reputation? In varying degrees, yes. But, Dr. King was much more than a cheater, and that must be remembered. As a person who has also been cheated on, I do not believe that a cheater is an aweful person incapable of redemption.
      The whole “I’m personally disappointed that we continue to idolize and revere a Reverend who committed adultery” in my opinion, is a tired excuse to dismiss the work of man who fought for and was a martyr for civil rights in America. Whether he cheated on his wife, on a high school exam, or on his diet, the impact he left on the history of America will be forever forged as a man who did something extraordinary for ALL his fellow citizens.

      @Antonio Maurice Daniels…enjoyed the read!

      1. Thank you so much! Julie’s comments represent pure foolishness. There’s a long history of people trying to dismiss Dr. King’s enduring value by focusing on his shortcomings, which are far less important than the great deeds he contributed to America to make it the great nation it is today. I very much appreciate you addressing her comments in such a powerful way.

      2. I’m not dismissing his work at all – I’m just tired of the idolatry for a Reverend (a man of God – a preacher, a man who committed his life to God, a man who performed weddings) who cheated (not just once but habitually). A person should be held accountable not only for the words that they speak but also their actions that follow those words. I have a feeling that cheating on your diet pales in comparison to cheating on your wife. But I’m not here to judge that. Dr. King has to live with those sins and he alone had to atone for them in front of God. I’m just looking at the situation from a different perspective than you and this is what I see and believe. You clearly see and believe otherwise. We are looking at it from different viewpoints; I would guess that you’ve never been cheated on by someone you love because I think that radically shifts perspective about adultery when it becomes personal but I don’t know so I can’t make conclusion. Everyone has different interpretations of this world and the people in it and that’s what makes our country great.

  7. I believe Rev. King not only had love for the marginalized but for those who marginalized them. I say this because he knew that hate and disregard are a poison that affected them too and that no real change could happen, or will, until we address the issues of hate as a human condition not particular to any one group. One may understand fully why a group hates another. This is true. King, however, was wise and loving enough of mankind to work toward a day beyond hate and revenge, something few today seem to be doing. Being a man of faith King knew the only way we can go forwards as a people is to recognize our nature and then move ahead in love and forgiveness.

    1. Federick:

      Absolutely! Excellent response! Dr. King championed a beloved community, one devoid of hatred and barriers of any kind. He loved everyone, including the White people at the time who were working against him. He understood the biblical principle of loving one’s enemy. I very much appreciate your response because it brings attention to the agape love that Dr. King had, and this is the type of love that is often overlooked and that needs to guide everything that we do at all levels.

    2. So moving ahead in love means talking about it and preaching it but not partaking in it in your personal life? I’m not denying that he was a very motivational man who inspired a lot of people but I would argue that if he did the same thing in this day and age he wouldn’t have had nearly the following. Look at all the politicians and religious leaders (of any race) who are persecuted for adultery and other indiscretions. How can we continue to hold up Dr. King to almost sainthood?

        1. Being a Reverend and continually breaking one if the 10 Commandments is more than just a shortcoming in my opinion; it’s hypocritical. Do we revere Catholic priests who have abused children? It’s no different in my option. Did he ever own up to his sins and show that he’d changed his ways? I don’t believe that good deeds will cancel out sin. Repentance and change are the only things that do that.

      1. No one can deny that King was not a saint. He was a man like any other. He had flaws and he fell to sin like so many men, but this does not make his words or his actions regarding love and civil rights any less valid. As to whether or not he would have had the same following today because of his personal failings is speculation. I think it would be more likely he would have less of a following because of the polarized nature of the political debate in our country.

    1. Lol! I wouldn’t care what any followers of President Obama would call me. I want to hold him accountable to living up to the words and actions of Dr. King that he continues to pretend he does. A couple of people thought I called them racist, but no one, as of yet, has called me racist in relation to this article.

      1. You’ve written an excellent article and I completely agree with you on topic. My sarcasm is in jest because I love picking on those folks who voted for “Dear Ruler” primarily because he happens to be black and promised them the world. The word racist has lost it’s meaning and effect because most people have no clue what it’s true definition is. I’ll be reposting your article on my blog soon. After all, even JRoycroft recognizes people with common sense and rational thinking. Congrats on winning the Freshly Pressed lottery. Well deserved!

  8. I think every president has his own private ‘epiphany’ but the message is always the same: What the hell? Each party’s take is diametrically opposed to the others. Victories are not measured by how the low and middle class survive but how badly they can characterize the other.

    Today’s audience wants to be kept informed of the salacious. They rather care more about how big Kim’s butt is or one’s personal sex life. I really do not care about either of those issues, as they are not my business.

    Only a person who is unaware of Jim Crow Laws or other forms of institutional racism can appreciate what has happened. White Liberal America wants to choke on the N-Word than do anything to champion our rights.

    Martin Luther King is just as iconic as any other great leader and that includes where they fall short. But the message he delivered is as relevant today as it did back in the 60s. Mankind is our business and that there are no 3/5 votes.

  9. Your words are entirely appropriate. From the beginning Obama has been idolized, considered the bearer of hope, practically the second coming of Martin Luther King. He was immediately presented with a nobel prize, and for what? Pretty words?

    He is compared to MLK, a man dedicated to the upliftment of the oppressed, and expression of Justice into American Society. This is a man who, after his DC march, planned another march on the capitol, this time to secure the upliftment of the socially and economically disenfranchised. He was a revolutionary leader, who’s goals have yet to be accomplished, instead replaced with a PC leftism that pays lip service to him.

    Obama is a faux MLK supporter. He uses his image for his own projection, but the two are nothing alike. It is a shame that the greatest men in their generation are covered in fancy clothes, while their true and provocative selves are swept under the rug.

    We all pay the price for such dishonesty.

  10. I still like Obama but everyone who had high hopes for him and for what we hoped he represented, fault also the incredibly racist Republican party who have roadblocked almost everything Pres Obama has tried and have taken the now disguised “Southern Strategy” to new heights of deception and national abuse. At least LBJ had many forces going his way, and had the power to push through Congress what was needed. Unfortunately Pres Obama in these retrogressive oppressive times has none of those favorable public forces helping him and his past agenda.

      1. I couldnt agree with you more. The Dixiecrats, all those old South senators in the pre and post WWII years, into the 1980’s are good examples. The best/worst I think was good cheerleader lovin’ Strom Thurmond till he got honest and turned into a Republican. In general no one has an exclusive claim to pure as the driven snow attitudes on race in this country. At least some of us are still working on it and trying to recognize it in ourselves and do something better day after day.

    1. This has been a lively, interesting blog discussion with many interesting topics explored. Touching on LBJ is worth some attention. He was the last president to benefit from the old “Southern Democrat” alliance. The southern Democrats were largely an unwholesome bunch primarily interested in preserving the southern status quo. They were a powerful political bloc, and Dr. King had to find ways to challenge and overcome their power. The Democratic party may have said good riddance to them in the years after LBJ, but they still exist…as a voting bloc of Republicans. It is worth remembering that LBJ was not working with a Democratic congress in the way we think of Democratic today. He had to overcome a voting bloc that was as grudging as today’s congressional throwbacks. And it worth remembering how deeply entrenched in the political system were the forces that Dr. King faced.

      1. I perversely like the armtwisting LBJ did to get some good things done, like threatening to air the dirty laundry of Dems and Repubs alike to marshall reliable blocks of votes for reforms and landmark legislation almost still unequaled in the world on voting rights, Social Security, etc.

          1. Thanks for your kind comments, and for reading my humble still obscure blog. But it is a labor of love…I can only repeat the stories I heard from my aunt about her lifelong friendship with LBJ gave me renewed respect for him. He was in a tough spot trying to manage the Vietnam mess of a war. It would have sank any President I have always thought. I really felt sorry for him and was in awe of him when I saw his resignation speech tv when I was a teen. I knew that he had an ego just about bigger than anyone in Washington and respected him for his soul searching reversal on race relations and civil rights. I have read two of the biographies on him after my aunt passed away and learned even more about him. I hope history becomes kinder to him as happens to some Presidents but I would–never to Nixon who was a true paranoid. Yuk. Anyway thanks for your comments. Truly appreciated.

            1. No problem. Thank you very much for reading and your comments. LBJ truly did some good things, things that should never be overlooked. I, too, am appreciative of his reversals on race relations and civil rights. Thank you for your personal insights about LBJ.

  11. Very strong piece. I appreciate your stance that people today quote Martin Luther Kings ‘speeches” yet fall short of delivery . Unfortunately leaders are far from being infallible during his day being “Out Spoken” was not considered intelligent our politically correct by the masses remember he was assassinated. Dr. Kings life at times seems to be reduced to catch phrases even though he was a man of action. He was a man who labored to expose injustice and actively provide solutions ,mind you, in the face of violence against himself, his family, and those whom he lead. No one knows how Dr. King would advise our President in these pressing times of economical decline, personal threats, capitalism and exploitation of the masses, acts/threats of terrorism and weapons of war, excessive waste of natural resources, our the divided house and constant debates that reveal the level of ethics and integrity or lack thereof within the leadership of our country. Our President is a facilitator of our nations greatest leaders elected by the people who needs collaborations, cooperation,and team work. It is preposterous to think our President to accomplish his job alone especially with the house divided. A house divided cannot stand…lack of maturity leads to seeking a scapegoat. How are we contributing to the problem or helping provide solutions and what positive action will we take to move our country forward.

    1. No clear thinking American is asking President Obama to solve all of the problems that the nation is facing, but he must develop policies that will have wide bipartisan support, which means that he cannot simply offer liberal policies and expect to gain the support of enough Republicans to get essential legislation passed. He cannot solve the critical problems on his own, of course, but he must act in a way that demonstrates effective leadership. He could put together policies that give Republicans enough of what they want and that give Democrats enough of what they want; this is the way forward to getting legislation passed in this divided government.

      1. Hmm… I hear you bro. Politics can be extremely stressful (complicated) for the average citizen so it is unclear to me about these “policies” you speak of and whether they are beneficial for the people or helping the rich stay richer.The evident homelessness, college graduates working minimum wage, people working like slaves (three plus jobs) and cannot afford to get sick. All this while prices climb on natural resources, real-estate, food, and everything one needs for daily living. It grieves me to look into my community and see the results of the division in the White House. It would be cool if politicians got their pay frozen or docked for failing to fulfill their duties. Come on America lets get it together. It is very discouraging to read and hear nothing but negative words coming from people about everything from the price of milk to the Presidents wife wardrobe and spending habits. I to am guilty of complaining but decided unless my words produce positive change and actions for myself and others silence is best.

            1. “Common sense reforms will help to drive prices down on most things to make things more affordable for all Americans.” Agreed, but I think there is too much emphasis on “driving prices down”. Importing from China has driven prices down, and comes with the driving down in quality of the goods that the big box stores sell. A refrigerator once had an expected life of about 20 years; today, GE says theirs will last 6-8 years. Policies that create jobs are what will make things more affordable. Driving down prices destroys jobs…local businesses can’t compete and so they don’t hire, or go out of business. A big reason we have so much unemployment is that government has cut so many jobs (federal, state and local) in the Obama era. Most government employees are good folk making modest wages and providing real services. We should not idolize those that cut these jobs. We need active scorn because these “cut government” campaigns are doing terrific harm to local economies.

              1. I very much support policies that will create jobs. I do believe we have to start somewhere in this divided Congress, however. This is the reasoning behind why I said what I said to her. I agree very much with what you have said. America has a real China problem, indeed.

  12. I feel like, Obama started off his career inspired by Dr.King and wanting to incorporate some of his teachings into his senatorial work; but once he was pegged as the “chosen” one, he had to get rid of all of these ideas. Nonetheless, great post and I haven’t believed in Obama since 08.

      1. Drastically different, and I didnt like him then either. I warned people that he would do whatever his sponsors and wallstreet said. I don’t trust politicians, or people who come across as visionaries, despite doing nothing substantive.

  13. Well written. When I read “Strength to Love” the greatest impression I got was that America took only the surface of King and missed his greatest strength… they took the easy way out, didn’t follow his road that put him on that hotel balcony, and now they treat him as a martyr to all the evil he himself denounced. Truly horrible is that the greed and evil that killed him uses a puppet of him mouthing through the empty words of famouse black Americans and Civil Rights “leaders” to spread its dirty message.

  14. Barack Hussein Obama is nothing more than a man of lawlessness, like a forerunner preparing us for the true lawless one, who is to come. Our society is without doubt primed for this true lawless one. If the people of the USA can listen to this man lie after lie and are so blind, their unable to see the truth behind he’s lies and worship this man as if he we’re some deity or savior, then we are going to be in a world of hurt.

  15. Mr. Daniels, you are a dreamer if you think politicians like Mr. Obushama are going to stop doing that which you complain of. Furthermore, the biggest part of the deficit was caused by Bush and Cheney. Obushama can be blamed for continuing their wars and for not discontinuing their tax cuts for the Fat Cat 1%ters.

    1. I actually agree with you in part. Bush and Obama both share significant blame for our nation’s current deficit problems. I contend that Obama has been much more harmful to the economy and deficit than Bush. In no way did I communicate that I believe that politicians like Obama and Bush are going to stop doing the things they have and are doing. My article functions as a protest against those things in which I argued against. Therefore, what specifically about the article conveyed that I was a “dreamer” in relation to politicians like Obama and Bush in your view? Additionally, there are significant differences between protesting and complaining.

  16. If the author is as politically astute as he believes does he understand the president cannot spend ONE DIME on any programs to uplift the poor and Black Americans unless Congress gives him the money to do so? Check the Constitution: “All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.”

    It is not enough to gripe that Obama hasn’t done enough to address issues of poverty and inequity. It’s useful to note he can only spend the dollars on those sort of programs when the House gives him the money to do so and John Boehner is giving the president NOTHING.

    Martin Luther King understood how the process worked. Obama’s critics need to as well.

    1. I understand the political process very well, Mr. Winbush. I need President Obama to understand that he is going to have to give Republicans some things they want in order to get things he desires. He needs to be an honest compromiser. Dr. King understood compromise and the value of it in a representative democracy. Your response indicates that you simply want to excuse Obama for anything he does and doesn’t do.

      1. If that’s what you think my response is, you didn’t understand it in your zeal to blame Obama for anything he does and doesn’t do.

        What EXACTLY is it you think the President should “give” the Republicans to get things he desires. He tried that two years with John Boehner including making cuts to Social Security that would have outraged Democrats. Boehner and the Republicans REJECTED the “grand bargain.”

        Dr. King understood compromise, but you can’t compromise with someone like the Republicans of today who see compromise as a dirty word and have made obstructionism their overruling principle. One only has to look at how the Senate Republicans blocked two of the president’s appointees last week.

        It’s only a representative democracy when both sides are willing to participate and the Republicans are not. In your overweening desire to blame Obama for not getting stuff done you conveniently ignore that he has no one to negotiate with.

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