“We’ve got some difficult days ahead.” -MLK

As of yesterday, the White House was saying that, President Trump and Vice President Pence had “no scheduled plans” for Martin Luther King Day. Today, however, they visited the MLK memorial in DC, where they stood for approximately one minute before leaving. Donald Trump, as he left, made the a brief, yet inspirational, speech.

“Good morning, everybody. Great day. Beautiful day,” he said. “Thank you for being here. Appreciate it.”

Nothing about the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was said. Nothing about civil rights was said. Nothing about public service was said.

While they were out of the limo for less than two minutes total, the Trump team got what they wanted… enough footage to piece together a social media post intended to demonstrate that, regardless of his vile rhetoric about immigrants and the fact that he lobbied for the execution of five innocent young black men in New York, Donald Trump really does care about civil rights and respect the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr… They got their split second of him touching a wreath. A passing glimpse of what might be seen by some as quiet introspection. And that’s it. Job done. Then it was right back into the limo… It was just enough to get the footage they needed, while not enough to upset Trump’s racist base. It was, in other words, pure perfection.

The news reported that Trump had ‘paid his respects,’ but I didn’t see anything even resembling respect. I saw a man who clearly didn’t want to be there, and was only doing it because he was told by someone — likely his daughter — that he had to. I certainly didn’t see someone who, as Mike Pence said yesterday, was like Martin Luther King.

For what it’s worth, Trump wasn’t the only one playing around today, pretending to be a supporter of Dr. King’s. The NRA put out the following despicable social media post.

A concealed weapon, of course, wouldn’t have done much good against a sniper hiding hundreds of feet away with a rifle and a scope that he’d bought a few days before, using a false name, at a sporting goods store. If the NRA really wanted to help ensure that nothing like this happens again, they wouldn’t be talking about concealed carry on the anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination. They’ve be talking about common sense gun reforms that should have been passed into law decades ago. But, instead, they thought they’d get some cheap mileage out of the fact that a man whose life was repeatedly repeatedly threatened during the civil rights era had applied for a gun permit… It’s also worth noting, I think, that despite what they may imply here, the NRA has a history of having fought in favor of gun control when it comes to African American ownership. Just look at the 1967 “open carry” ban in California, which was designed to keep guns out of the hands of the Black Panthers.

What do you say we end on a happy note, with something from our nation’s last legitimate president? Here’s hoping we get another one soon.

And here’s the rest of that quote from MLK that I teased up front. It’s from his last speech — “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” — given on April 3, 1968, the night before he was assassinated. Hopefully you, like me, will take some comfort in it.

…Well, I don’t know what will happen now. 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. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man…

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  1. Lynne
    Posted January 22, 2019 at 3:18 am | Permalink

    I predict that white people in general will be ready to hear an accurate telling of the history of MLK, the civil rights movement, and BLM in about 200 more years.

  2. EOS
    Posted January 22, 2019 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    It’s Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King.

  3. Eel
    Posted January 22, 2019 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Mitch McConnell popped out of his shell to say, “We should keep striving for the mutual respect, shared brotherhood, and national unity.”


  4. iRobert
    Posted January 22, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    i think the point the NRA was trying to make in their tweet was that even a leader in the non-violent civil rights movement was in favor of individuals having the right to protect themselves with a concealed firearm. It does make a point a lot of people don’t want to acknowledge.

    The NRA has certainly changed. They no longer limit who they think should be allowed to own guns. But all organizations have changed considerably from what they were a half-century ago.

    No gun ban of any sort would have stopped Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination. He was murdered by professionals contracted by powerful interests, because his activism threatened the established power structure and ongoing war profiteering rackets.

    The King family publicly acknowledges that the assassination was an organized professional hit, as did the congressional committee on assassinations. The circumstantial evidence has always indicated the killing was an extensive conspiracy, the details of which have been written about extensively.

  5. John Brown
    Posted January 22, 2019 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    For the umpteenth time, get gunned up “libtards”, before they implement gun control based on political ideology. Which I shit you not the worshippers of Agent Orange are already “joking” about. This could go full Nazi at any moment and our side is like MLK standing on a balcony with millions of AR15s pointed at us.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted January 22, 2019 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    A guy named Jonathan M. Katz had the best caption for the photo at the top of the post. “Leaders shown to scale,” he said.


  7. iRobert
    Posted January 20, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    This is the day we remember MLK, and how his understanding and strategies regarding racism are outdated now that we have much more brilliant thinkers on the subject such as Jean Henry.

  8. iRobert
    Posted January 20, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    So it’s really a day of mourning. We mourn how limited Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s knowledge was compared to Jean’s. But we do find some comfort in the understanding that Jean has had the benefit of an additional half century of additional knowledge. So it was through no fault of his own that King was so limited in his understanding.

  9. Jean Henry
    Posted January 20, 2020 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    “First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; “
    —MLK je

  10. iRobert
    Posted January 20, 2020 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    So MLK wasn’t quite as clueless as you originally thought. Is that your message, Jean?

    MLK’s understanding, that the moderates more devoted to order than to justice are the great stumbling block, was news to you at some point?

    King not only understood and promoted the best strategy for making the gains which were made in the 50s and 60s, but he understood there was another challenge which required another strategy.

    Do you think his strategy with white moderates would be to attack them as racists the way you do?

    I don’t. I think he was a brilliant strategist – not an impulsive, arrogant jackass. That’s the real reason you wanted to diminish him initially. A wise strategy would by contrast expose your conduct for the thoughtless, destructive bullshit it is.

  11. Claude Taylor by proxy
    Posted January 21, 2020 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    You think Bernie is polling well against Trump? Wait until voters see a million ads talking about a socialist/deadbeat dad/who never had a job until 40/who just had a heart attack. The oppo file on Bernie is brutal and will be used to great effect.

  12. Jean Henry
    Posted January 21, 2020 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    “Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance. It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn.”— MLK jr

    IRobert I suggest you go back and read what I actually said re your selective use of MLK quotes to deride contemporary Black movements. It clearly hit a nerve. Maybe get a bit more curious about why.

    And again, the United way of washtenaw county is hosting a racial bias community education project right now. It started 2 weeks ago but you could catch up. I’m sure everyone would be relieved of you made some effort to catch up. https://www.facebook.com/uwwashtenaw/

  13. Jean Henry
    Posted January 21, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Ps iRobert—
    I doubt I ever called you racist.i simply said we live in a white supremacist country with a lot of internalizes a d systemic bias and we can’t solve that by denying it exists and we can’t achieve equity without confronting racism as its own deeply entangled but separate issue.

    All I know is that Dr King would not have much patience with your derision of ‘identity politics’ and Blavk Lives Matter. And that contemporary black movements have a bead on white liberals use of selective MLK quotes to try to suppress their “
    Legitimate outrage and their movement for modern abolition.

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