ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My Friend's Memories and Thoughts on Martin Luther King's Birthday

The following article appeared in California Conservative. It is written by my room mate during 1968 at Westminster College in Fulton Mo. He sometimes is seen to comment here as Desert Rat, a name that reflects his residence in Palm Springs, California. He is a fine writer. He is a solid conservative. But more to the point in this case, he is my friend and I am proud of him, especially when he produces something like this.

January 21, 2008
Remembering Martin Luther King
Filed Under: Activism, Culture, History, Author: Kip Allen, Race, Domestic Policies

I’m old enough that I remember Martin Luther King. I read about him in
the newspapers. I saw him on television. I heard his “Dream” speech. I wept when
he was murdered.

I have no patience for those who claim that America is just as racist
as it was in years gone by. I remember those days. I remember federal troops in
Little Rock. I remember Gov. George Wallace blocking the school door. I remember
Sheriff “Bull” Conner and the fire hoses being turned on marchers in Birmingham.
I remember the Freedom Riders. I remember separate drinking fountains and “white only” signs. I remember the fear. I remember the hate.

But mostly, I remember the sound of a Georgia preacher’s voice calling
out. I remember him calling out, not just to his followers, but to his enemies
as well. He told us that we were better men and women and that hate and fear
shouldn’t divide us. He reminded is that we were all one people, regardless of
skin color or religion.

That voice was heard. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act became the law of
the land with the support of more than 80% of the Republicans in Congress and
slightly more than 60% of the Democrats (among those opposing the measure were
Klansman Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia and Al Gore’s late father who was a
senator from Tennessee).

Those were heady days. Then the dream started to sour. Government
programs aimed at aiding African Americans ended up causing mortal harm. The
welfare structure effectively destroyed the black family structure. Other
program, such as affirmative action, conveyed the message to both African
Americans and others that blacks were incapable of competing. Some claimed it
was needed to fight vestiges of racism against minorities, while completely
ignoring the success of Asian Americans, some of whom in modern times faced
incarceration solely based on their ethnicity.

Whatever the intent, the effect was to make African Americans dependent
upon government largess and intervention rather than encouraging their own

What was perhaps even worse were Dr. King’s successors. They stood in
the footsteps of a giant and were found wanting. His inheritors stood at the
threshold of greatness … and stepped back.

Instead of following Dr. King’s message of inclusion, they preached a message of separation and divisiveness.

Instead of finding strength in self and family, they found dependence upon the government.

Some of their leaders, specifically Jessie Jackson, Cynthia McKinney
and Al Sharpton, have preached a strong message of anti-Semitism. Many leaders
have refused to denounce or even distance themselves from such vile demagogues
as Louis Farrakhan.

As a nation, we honor Martin Luther King. His spirit soars in the heavens with angels, while many of his successors slither in the mud with an entirely different creature.

And this was my comment:

Kip, my brother, this is certainly among your finest opinion pieces.

I remember that night in April 1968 when Reverend King was murdered. You and I
were together that night. It was a warm early spring evening shattered by
horrible news. I too remember what it was like before Dr King.

As a child I traveled with my parents through the remains of the “Old
South.” I remember vividly crossing the state line from Virginia to North
Carolina on the old Route 1 to be greeted by a huge billboard that read, “The
Klu Klux Klan Welcomes You to North Carolina.” I too saw the the separate and
definitely not equal facilities.

I remember the bodies of the Freedom Riders that were pulled out of
that levy in Mississippi and the acquittal of the perpetrators of those murders
by a white Southern jury. I remember that children killed in the Birmingham
church bombing. I remember the Detroit mother who had come South to aid in the
cause who was murdered as she drove on a Southern highway.

It was in that environment that the voice of Dr. King rang out in God’s righteousness and Christian love.

Those who think today’s world is anything like it was then are deluded
and/or brainwashed.

As for the hucksters who have followed him, shame on them.

John A. Wilson, Salinas, California

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn