January 21, 2004

Martin Luther King Jr.'s 75th birthday should have been an occasion for serious reflection on his life, his teachings, his legacy and his service. Instead, in Atlanta, we were forced to deal with an insult: an uninvited, insincere visit by President Bush

The _resident is starting to act-out in very strange
ways. The day after he forced his way into Ebenezer
Baptist Church, he installed Charles Pickering as a
Federal judge. Yes, the LNS has already made note of
this appalling (and certainly quite intentional
one-two insult), but here is an powerful testimony
that deserves to be archived, and Timothy McDonal's
name is going to be scrawled on the John O'Neill Wall
of Heroes...I take one exception to what McDonald's
has written though, the _resident is not attempting to
"woo black voters," he is attempting to intimidate and
confuse the progressive forces, while shoring up his
base on the rabid Right.

Timothy McDonald, Los Angeles Times: Many of us
remembered that it was on King's birthday last year
that this same president, on national television,
launched his attack against affirmative action by
directing his administration to join the legal case
against the University of Michigan's admissions
policy.

Rebuke the Rabid Right and Return to the _resident to
Waco, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush
(again!)

http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0119-09.htm

Published on Monday, January 19, 2004 by the Los
Angeles Times
He Came Not to Praise King But ...
by Timothy McDonald

Martin Luther King Jr.'s 75th birthday should have been an occasion for serious reflection on his life, his teachings, his legacy and his service. Instead, in Atlanta, we were forced to deal with an insult: an uninvited, insincere visit by President Bush to lay a wreath at King's tomb.

The King Center quickly made it clear that it had not
extended the invitation, and Bush's visit caused great
consternation among King anniversary planners, who
questioned the timing, motive and intent of this
self-initiated presidential visit.

Many of us remembered that it was on King's birthday
last year that this same president, on national
television, launched his attack against affirmative
action by directing his administration to join the
legal case against the University of Michigan's
admissions policy. To follow that action by laying a
wreath on King's tomb this year represented the height
of hypocrisy for many of us in the civil rights
community. It was obviously nothing more than a photo
opportunity designed to woo black voters to the
Republican Party. Coming in an election year, it was a
blatant attempt to use King's image for political
gain.

And here's the most offensive part: After a brief
"official business" visit to the grave site read:
taxpayers foot the bill Bush rushed off to a
$2,000-a-plate fundraiser that same evening, picking
up a cool $1.3 million in Atlanta for his reelection
campaign.

There's a reason African American voters
overwhelmingly turn out for Democrats. King's
philosophies could not be more different from Bush's.
King, a man of peace, was one of the first to publicly
oppose the Vietnam War. Bush, by contrast, has
unilaterally and preemptively declared war upon
another country, causing hundreds of American soldiers
to lose their lives and costing the American taxpayer
hundreds of billions of dollars. You have to ask how
that is consistent with the life and teachings of
King.

Three million jobs have been lost since 2001, and 9
million Americans are out of work. How would King feel
about this? The poverty gap has widened under this
president. Tax cuts have benefited the wealthiest
Americans at the expense of the poorest, and certainly
King who spent his final years decrying poverty in
the United States would not support such policies.

King dedicated his life to racial harmony; Bush's
policies have caused an even greater divide between
the races.

It is time for protest, and about 1,000 people did so
at King's tomb Thursday. The greatest expression of
our commitment to King's dream is to redress our
government when we feel it to be wrong. This is what
makes our nation strong.

If President Bush was serious about honoring King, his
rhetoric would be reflected in his policies. King
would be honored by an America that not only talks
about "no child left behind" but works for smaller
classes, provides adequate funding for education,
higher salaries for teachers and a public education
system that is not treated like an unwanted stepchild.


King would be thrilled by a health-care system that
took care of all of its citizens and a livable wage
for all working Americans. King would work for
campaign finance reform that does not allow the rich
to buy elections, and he would strive to ensure that
every vote is counted. King would not risk the lives
of soldiers and use war as a pretext to secure oil.

On this 75th birthday anniversary, the veil of
deception and arrogance was uncovered, and hope was
reborn through protest, dissent and redress of our
government.

The dream lives on.

Rev. Timothy McDonald, pastor of the First Iconium
Baptist Church in Atlanta, is president of the African
American Ministers in Action program of People for the
American Way.

Copyright 2004 Los Angeles Times

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Posted by richard at January 21, 2004 06:30 PM