Civics History Liberalism

For Jobs and Freedom

Keita Gresham, 14, of Maryland listens to the speakers at the event. Julia Xanthos/New York Daily News.

Keita Gresham, 14, of Maryland listens to the speakers at the event. (Julia Xanthos/New York Daily News.)

Yesterday, tens of thousands gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech.

A march on Washington for ‘Jobs and Freeedom’ in the year 2013.

Activist groups and civil rights leaders, congressional allies, and the ghosts of America showed up for a day of remembrance and the realistic acknowledgement that we still have a long way to go toward realizing “The Dream.”

In the finest of American traditions of peaceful protest– men, women, and children showed up with their signs and their grievances– locked arms– and their collective hopes for a better world– a better America.

A country where the right to vote isn’t being rolled back with the white-hot intensity of trying to get into your apartment with a pile of keys before the shadowy figure catches up to you. A country where women are paid equally, and are not forced to carry their pregnancies to term because “the Bible says.” A country where a teenage boy is not shot in cold blood while his killer goes free to the delight of terrible people everywhere. A country where labor unions are not diminished and subjugated to the sometimes profitable/sometimes spiteful whims of globalization and a handful of right wing billionaires. Most importantly, they showed up to just be there. To be accounted. To let the world know that the Dream isn’t dead, but it’s reeling.

People arrive at the National Mall to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 'I have a Dream' speech on the National Mall on August 24, 2013 in Washington, DC. A commemorative. Via NBC 11 Atlanta.

People arrive at the National Mall to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘I have a Dream’ speech on the National Mall on August 24, 2013 in Washington, DC. A commemorative. Via NBC 11 Atlanta.

As for the GOP, Republicans continue their legacy of lying and spreading ignorance about all of their despicable deeds with the sincerity of a cat guarding a mouse– all but bragging that their policies they’ve been instituting to prevent the imaginary problem of voter fraud didn’t stop Black voter turnout in 2012. With that shit-kicker grin, they ask, ”what’s the problem?”

If you recall, most of the states involved with trying to kill the Dream in the run-up to the 2012 election were blocked by the Justice Department, which has been kept very busy during the time of the first black man elected to the presidency in America.

Earlier this year, the Bush-Reagan appointed justices on the Supreme Court essentially decided that racism in America was dead, and overturned Section 5 of The Voting Rights Act of 1965 by a 5-4 decision.

In an excerpt from “I Have A Dream”:

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be engulfed, every hill shall be exalted and every mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plains and the crooked places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.

With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to climb up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

The results we see today are that the South’s Jim Crow laws and methods have spread to the rest of the country with a racist and cruel Republican party overseeing and implementing a massive election fraud scam. This is the Right wing’s classic presentation of electoral ‘Step & Fetchit‘– where we better be dancing and “keeping it funny for you, Boss” toward a future in America where long lines, voting-roll purges and caging, consolidated precincts, and voting machine shortages are now part of the electoral war ensemble that now include no pre-clearance for states that enact laws against the free and easy access to the polls.

The Republican party version of, “Your Dream’s Worst Nightmare.”

Black voter turnout was strong in 2012 despite GOP efforts to curtail the rights of millions of people. We danced a little longer, and ‘kept it funny’ just long enough to win one last election before the steerage class doors to democracy are nailed shut.

Because what should startle the left out of it’s comatosed state should be the fact that had black people voted in 2012 at the same rate they did in 2004, we’d be appealing to Mitt Romney right now to stop the bleeding and starvation. Instead, Eric Holder and the president are supposed to play whack-a-mole with the enemies of voting rights while the left is emotionally back-packing through Europe trying to find their metadata souls.

In the land of the free, home of the brave, the Republican party are cowards and thieves of the worst order. Carpetbaggers and tyrants. UnAmerican bullies who, to this day, degrade the life’s work of Martin Luther King Jr., and continue to oppress a mighty coalition of the Democratic party’s base.

For our political hypochondriacs on the left, I ask you, what progress do you hope to achieve in the areas of rolling back surveillance and war powers if black people, seniors, students, and the poor can’t get to the polls?

Because if you think you can go it alone, or stand idly by, sit this one out– off fighting the war for progress inside your collective club for Cool-Kids-Only, as right wing dominated states openly and insidiously attack the vote– you’re writing checks with our democracy that future-America can’t possibly cash, this side of a soul-selling payday loan. You are not the saviors of jobs, freedom, and peace. And, while you’re turning your backs on the legacy of Dr. King, everything you hope to achieve will have died a death befitting a nation of slackers and keyboard cowards by the time you reach that dirt hill of a mountaintop all by yourselves.