Friday, February 1, 2008

Correcting Hillary Clinton on MLK and Social Change

This gem, courtesy of A Tiny Revolution, is too good to pass up:

Several weeks ago this statement of Hillary Clinton got lots of attention:

I would point to the fact that Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when he was able to get through Congress something that President Kennedy was hopeful to do, the president before had not even tried, but it took a president to get it done. That dream became a reality. The power of that dream became real in people's lives because we had a president who said, "We are going to do it," and actually got it accomplished.

What's gotten less attention is what Martin Luther King himself thought on this subject. Chris Rabb has the bad taste to point out that King wrote this in an article published in January, 1969 after his death:

The past record of the federal government, however, has not been encouraging. No president has really done very much for the American Negro, though the past two presidents have received much undeserved credit for helping us. This credit has accrued to Lyndon Johnson and John Kennedy only because it was during their administrations that Negroes began doing more for themselves. Kennedy didn't voluntarily submit a civil rights bill, nor did Lyndon Johnson. In fact, both told us at one time that such legislation was impossible. President Johnson did respond realistically to the signs of the times and used his skills as a legislator to get bills through Congress that other men might not have gotten through. I must point out, in all honesty, however, that President Johnson has not been nearly so diligent in implementing the bills he has helped shepherd through Congress.

It would be fun to live in the kind of world where people remembered enough history to ask Hillary Clinton about this.

It would be equally fun to live in the kind of world where people not only remembered enough history ask Ms. Clinton about her misleading statement (without fear of being tasered for doing so), but where so-called "journalists" would dare to ask such questions in highly public settings rather than blithely commenting on Britney Spears' latest crisis. Regrettably, that appears too much to ask.

No comments:

Post a Comment