Monday, January 19, 2009
MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY
The best way to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King is to enjoy the spirit of jubilation over the Obama victory. King gave his life for equality, peace, and justice--and was assassinated by a white racist. We still have white racists and probably always will--just as we will always have cruelty and stupidity--but we can't wait for them to catch up because there is work to do. They must be livid. After all, they barely got over the abolition of slavery. In the name of King and all the civil rights workers we celebrate Obama's victory--an American victory.
Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen sing out at the Lincoln Memorial during a concert for Obama's inauguration. Pete, folksinger, political activist, and rabble-rouser, was hounded by the U.S. government for years for his politics and blacklisted during the Red Scare. Here, he makes a triumphant return with the Jersey Devil. They sing a song written by Pete's old running buddy, Woody Guthrie. I'm sure you know it, but maybe not this version. Here they sing it the way Woody wrote it, with all the "radical" lyrics they kept out of your school songbook.
In the squares of the city - In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office - I see my people
And some are grumblin' and some are wonderin'
If this land's still made for you and me.
Seeger and Springsteen at the Lincoln Monument:
What it took to get here. Bull Connor's police dogs attack protesters in Selma. Their crime? Asking for the right to vote. All the people jabbering about "exporting Democracy" sure as hell should have supported these brave souls--but of course conservatives blocked the civil rights movement every step of the way. It's history; look it up.
U2 perform "In The Name of Love" at the Lincoln Memorial. They wrote the song about Dr. King.
On this hard-won holiday, remember what it took to get here. Martin Luther King, Jr. is arrested by Alabama police for civil disobedience. The civil rights movement wasn't a tea party. People risked their necks. Give it up for MLK and the Movement for having the guts and determination and vision to rock the boat.