Majesty of King’s ‘Dream’ meets Beck’s ‘nightmare’

Updated
Let me finish with those few lines from the Martin Luther King, Jr. speech of 1963. “But not only that: Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.” Dr. King was talking about the founding place of the KKK, Stone Mountain, the site of the Scottsboro Boys trial, Lookout Mountain. This was 1963, never forget. The civil rights bill was a year away. Lunch counters and gas station rest rooms were still for whites only; so were hotels and restaurants throughout the south. I remember seeing those “white only” signs along the highway heading south for spring break. I remember seeing one still there when I went to rural Louisiana to train for the Peace Corps. There was a hard divide in this country back then. On one side stood the people who believed in the power of the federal government to do the right thing - especially when state governments, local governments and local businesses persisted in doing the wrong thing - or doing nothing. It was a time when governors like Ross Barnett of Mississippi and George Wallace of Alabama stood up to keep their universities white-only, a time when people used terms like “nullification” and “interposition,” who claimed the right to obstruct the federal government to act even when Congress passed the law. Today, we hear the echoes of those voices, people calling for “nullification.” Even “secession” gets a call-out from those who just don’t like the federal government and certainly don’t like the man leading it. Tomorrow those who thrill to such words are heading here to Washington. They’re heading directly to the Lincoln Memorial, site of the Martin Luther King speech. The main speaker is the man who said this about this country’s first African-American president: “This guy is, I believe, a racist. Look at the things that he has been surrounded by!” That is the man who comes to Lincoln’s feet to claim the mantle of Martin Luther King. Can we imagine if King were physically here today - were he to reappear tomorrow on the very steps of the Lincoln Memorial? “I have a nightmare.” “That one day, a right-wing talk show host will come to this spot, his people’s lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” - little right-wing boys and little right-wing girls joining hands and singing their praise for Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin.” “I have a nightmare.” Many talk today about a religious center near Ground Zero being a desecration. What do you call this?

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Martin Luther King and Glenn Beck

Majesty of King's 'Dream' meets Beck's 'nightmare'

Updated