Tuesday, January 15, 2008

HRC, MLK &LBJ

The fact that Hillary's comment was dragged out of context and misanalyzed as demeaning to Dr. King is one of those media manufactures that will take on a life of its own, regardless of the facts -- much as the Howard Dean non-scream (Look at the actual video, in context, and it is a shout much like any coach uses to urge on a team.).

Since no one -- especially journalists -- know ANY history, it is not surprising that they know LBJ only as a stubborn war president, not as a great civil rights leader whose personal commitment and political courage was the absolute prerequisite to the success of the civil rights legislation that is the basis of minority progress in this country.

(Talk about political courage: All Democratic presidents up till then had been elected by a "solid South", as was a big chunk of the Democratic congresses. LBJ used all of his considerable political skill and power to get the civil rights legislation passed that had been stalled in Congress for 20 years. On signing the civil rights bill, LBJ told one of the bystanders that he knew that by doing this, the Democrats would lose the Southern states for at least a generation, but that it was the morally right thing to do. that was the beginning of the Republican South, under the leadership of Strom Thurmond -- Trent Lott's hypocritical, racist hero.)

Martin Luther King was a great and courageous moral leader. But, the historical fact is that without LBJ's courage and committment, there would be no legislation that revolutionized our society by putting the federal law (and federal law enforcement) behind the right.

HRC's point was that you cannot just hope change into being. Being right is not enough. The man who had the dream -- and the courage to stand up for that dream -- needed the man who had the experience and ability -- and an equal if different courage -- to make that dream a political reality.

This is not pro or anti HRC or Obama or Edwards. It is a plea not to let a bored or ignorant media twist every comment (in this case, one about the value of political experience) into a feeding frenzy on race, gender or anything else. That is the surest way to get another 4 years of Republican mismanagement.