Today, I would like to take some time to honor one of the people I hold in the HIGHEST regard... a man whose words and actions have greatly shaped my life... a man who helped to permanently redefine both the Democratic and Republican Party... a man whose philosophies have helped shape the world as we know it... a Martyr of Civil Rights... a man whose selflessness could only be mirrored by his courage...
I'm speaking, of course, about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Without him, we would be facing a vastly different America.
In a setting riddled with blatant racism, denial of Constitutionally granted rights, obscene abuses of power, and a nation opening a rift that has yet to be mended, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had the titanium balls to stand up to an entire nation that had been corrupted by dozens of generations of purely malicious hate (much of which still exists today; more in the South, of course, than the rest of the country; although elements are visible in every State, City, Town, Province, District, Village, Community... basically any collection of two people or more in one place).
have been permanently emblazoned in my mind. The blatancy of the pure vitriol towards people who are guilty of nothing more than having a different genetic makeup is something that I personally find abhorrent, and something that shall never be forgotten.
... just like the way that gays and immigrants are treated today...
Think about it... the "Civil Rights Act of 1964" forced the bigots to focus their hate in other areas, so they went in two different directions, and then, eventually, a third; first, the gays and the immigrants (which gave them "license" to hate ANYBODY that's not white, as long as they "talk funny"); and then, of course, the Muslims (after 9-11).
I'm focusing on the gays and immigrants because there are widespread, specifically focused laws on those groups of people and their actions. (Although, two states have also ignorantly banned Shariah Law from being practiced in their courts, despite the fact that this is a DIRECT violation of the First Amendment. The bigots are still trying to find ways to discriminate against Muslims... even though it's completely natural to them, it's still a new group to hate, and that kind of focused hate takes time to organize.)
There used to be laws that African Americans couldn't marry or adopt children... just like the gays, now...
There used to be restricted rights pertaining to Power of Attorney and legal status on African Americans... just like the gays and immigrants, now...
Many of the racial stereotypes once held by African Americans now belong to certain groups of immigrants (lazy, unintelligent, loud, etc)... and it's founded in the same ignorance of cultural differences.
… it would appear that we've gone from the frying pan into another frying pan...
And these obvious signs of blatant hate, as with the time of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., are coming from the same places... purely bigoted "Christian" organizations (Christians who celebrate Hitler's version of the Bible, like the Westboro Baptist Church), the KKK, and everyone else the the Republican Party picked up during Nixon's run for office when they realized that they couldn't win unless they picked up the ignorant, bigoted "Dixiecrats". (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_strategy)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the other civil rights leaders in the 1960's caused a rift in the Democratic Party on the grounds of civil rights for African Americans, alienating the Southern Dixiecrats.
The Dixiecrats found themselves as a people without a party. Then, in the 1970's, along came Richard Nixon. His election campaign wasn't going so well and he knew he couldn't win unless he expanded his base. So, you know what that asshole did? He decided that the ignorant Southern racists could be easily controlled and converted, knowing that stupid people are easily controlled. So he started spreading racist “dog whistles” that were aimed at converting the moronic bigots over to his side.
As a result, this racism was allowed to fester and spread throughout the 80's and 90's. It was fed with the “Willie Horton” advertisement during George H.W. Bush's 1988 election and Ronald Reagan's references to “Welfare Queens”. African Americans have been demonized by the Republicans in one way or another in LITERALLY every election season by one Republican candidate or another.
This is something we've seen especially predominant during Barack Obama's campaigns in 2008 and 2012 by the “Birthers,” numerous rants referring to our President as a “nigger” or as a witch doctor during the health care debate, or by EVERY SINGLE HOST on the Foxaganda network in one way or another, or Rush Limbaugh and all the other right-wing radio hosts virtually daily.
The racist references found on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter FAR eclipse the suggestive “dog whistles” found on the radio or television. These are things that I don't think people would say out loud on the street, but the internet allows people to remain masked while they spew their hate, rather than speak openly, and it grants them an audience, which allows them to branch out and spread their corrupting, factless bullshit.
Like I said before, Dr. King's words and actions shed a light of shame on racism, which the majority of us took as a cue to change our thinking. However, some of us took that shame and re-directed it at other groups; specifically the immigrants and the gays (as I pointed out before). I guess, for some people, hate is just something that's hard to eradicate once it's been sown at the genetic level. But that doesn't mean that it can't be eliminated; we just need another man like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to cast the same light on intolerance.
Who will pick up that mantle? Many have tried... Harvey Milk... Cesar Chavez... Mario Solis Marich... Dan Savage... Al Sharpton... Jesse Jackson... George Takei... Barney Frank... Jared Polis...
What it all boils down to is, we need a hero. We need someone who has the charisma, the balls, and the dedication to step up and make a difference, just like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did. We need someone to tear down the walls of intolerance that have been built by dozens of generations of bigotry. We need someone who can speak truth to power, with a history of victimization and prejudice to back up their words and actions.
So, who should it be? Who could pick up the mantle? Where is this person going to come from? When?
This is the part where I attempt to inspire you. This is the part where I try to instill a feeling of power within you. This is the part where I tell you to speak your mind; say it LOUD! Say it CLEAR! Say it with PRIDE! Say it with CONVICTION!
I believe that we ALL have the power to be “that person”... I believe that we ALL have the potential to change the world... I believe that we all have some understanding of injustice on one stage or another, and we should speak to the injustice that we know... therefore, I believe that ANYONE can be “the one.”
YOUR voice is important! YOUR experience is invaluable! YOUR voice is needed!
have a voice!!!
Use it to