Angry White People With Guns Is Fulfillment Of MLK's Dream, Says Really Dumb Person
Monday was Martin Luther King Day, and some creeps thought this was an ideal time to protest reasonable gun safety laws in Virginia. Dr. King was the leader of a prominent non-violent movement. He changed the world without pulling a gun. Then a racist shot and killed him. Guns and Dr. King's legacy don't mix positively. However, Antonia Okafor Cover, spokesperson for Gun Owners of America, turned up on "Fox & Friends" Tuesday and suggested that the gun rally was the culmination of Dr. King's "dream." This was because it was not overtly a white supremacist rally.
COVER: This was by far, hands down, the worst white supremacist rally I have ever seen. There were people shaking my hand. I mean, they even let me speak, for goodness sake. So, it's almost as if MLK's dream to see that people judge people based on the content of their character and not the color of their skin had actually become reality,
First place, people of different races uniting to publicly hump guns was not in any way Dr. King's dream. He actively opposed the Vietnam War, which was an inclusive expression of American violence. There was more to Dr. King's dream than people being judged based not on the color of their skin but the content of their 45 calibers. He also dreamed that Mississippi would be transformed into an "oasis of freedom and justice." There's clearly still work to do.
Dr. King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream Speech" at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. (People tend to forget the last four words.) He warned that it would be "fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment," but he also insisted that "[we] must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence." Physical violence is all guns are good for. Gun lovers like to claim Dr. King was Dirty Harry because he'd applied for a concealed carry permit in Alabama. That was in 1956, shortly after racists bombed his home. He later said he was more "afraid in Montgomery when I had a gun in my house." He didn't carry a gun when he and hundreds of other brave activists, including John Lewis, marched on Selma. It wasn't just peaceful. It was practical. If they were armed, they would've been summarily executed rather than just viciously attacked. Heavily armed white people, many in combat gear, is itself an expression of white supremacy or a least clueless white privilege. Black people, including children, are fatally shot because a white person thinks they might have a gun.
Conservatives politely pay lip service to Dr. King each year while rarely aspiring to anything he believed while alive. Mike Pence, who defiled Dr. King's memory last year, gave an encore performance Sunday at a Memphis church. He claimed Dr. King was a "childhood hero" of his. That's a nice sentiment if likely completely untrue. According to a 1966 Gallup poll, 63 percent of Americans had a negative view of Dr. King. We presume more black people than Clarence Thomas were polled, so it seems statistically improbable that young Mike Pence was a fan. When Dr. King was alive, conservative idols such as William F. Buckley openly denounced him and the civil rights movement. There was more to the "I Have A Dream" speech than the one line everyone quotes. Dr. King also said this:
We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.
He doesn't sound like a conservative. He doesn't even sound like today's moderate Democrat. I'll never stop finding it suspicious when the most gun obsessed, the most saber rattling of Americans celebrate a pacifist. They don't try to model themselves after King. They chafe at regulating the weapon that took his life. They celebrate a non-violent black man because he didn't raise an army against them -- and they know he could have. They breathe a collective sigh of relief at his moral courage and restraint. Then they decide where to drop bombs next. The Virginia rally only reinforced that hypocrisy.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).