Monday, June 14, 2004


Just a few questions about two leaders...

What is your opinion of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his social-political philosphies during the Civil Rights era?

What is your opinion of Frmr. President Ronald Reagan and his social-political philosophies during his administration?

Do you believe that these two men would be in agreement on many social policies?

Would MLK Jr. be in agreement with the Civil Rights establishment today?

Your views are much appreciated.


La Shawn said...

1. I believe MLK's hope for "content of character" and not "color of skin" was ahead of its time and deeply divisive to the America of 1963. He was a social and political revolutionary.

2. From what I've read (when he was prez I was too young to care), Reagan was a true conservative, unlike George Bush (it pains me to say). Socially, I think Reagan was aware of injustices, real or otherwise, and made an effort to inject dignity and optimism back into the country. He was against the dignity-robbing doctrine of affirmative action, and for that, among other reasons, he's hated by many black liberals. I don't care how long some folks live, but they will never in their lifetimes accept that black unemployment and poverty went down under Reagan. This is the mark of a conservative: someone who takes a hands-off approach to business and economic growth. Liberals are so used to government hand outs that such an approach feels "racist" and cold to them.

3. & 4. Unfortunately, I don't think so. How can we second-guess the dead? I think MLK would have supported affirmative action, and I base that on nothing more than my own thoughts. I think he would've been co-opted by the professional civil rights establishment that currently reigns.

r said...

Man, Jerry, you always make me think. I realized that perhaps I don't know what MLK really thought and taught and also what RR's policies really were; I just enjoyed the fruit of them.

Must go find some good reading now so that I can know.

Do you have any suggestions?

Jerry McClellan said...

I recommend reading "A Call To Conscience", a book that has the last speaches of MLK including commentary from the likes of Andrew Young and Aretha Franklin and many others who worked with Mr. King. Also, if you go to website there is a link to a site that lists most if not all of Mr. Reagan's speaches, one in particular that gives a inciteful look into Mr. Reagan's ideology is the now well known Barry Goldwater presidential campaign speach he gave in 1967. This is the one that really got me thinking.

Anonymous said...

Would JFK be so charmed in our collective memories had he not been assainated? Or would Vietnam had brought him down in disgrace?

Based on his recorded thots and actions, I would think not, his philandering notwithstanding. He was a media darling, whereas Johnson & Nixon never got any of that "love". JFK could well have escalated to a no-holds barred confrontation with North Vietnam, ending the war early enough, such that the "make love, not war" crowd would never have found its voice. Fresh with that victory, he could turn his sights on the Warsaw Pact so that by the late 60s or early 70s, the USSR would have backed down over Berlin, Prague, Budapest and the rest of Eastern Europe.

In s similar vein, if MLK had not been assainated, we may well have half the issues we face now. Likewise, MLK recorded much of his thots and his actions spoke loudest. A lot of the post-MLK governmental policies were ramrodded thru with no regard to unintended consequences. The nation was on a emotional mourning streak and anxious to pacify the CRM.

All sorts of players sought to ride MLK's coattail and make their mark. Remember, no one in the leadership ever passed the mantle to Jesse, but that didn't stop him from pretending that it was his divine inheritance. And most folks, especially the media and the whites were hardly going to call him on it. To them it was the equivalent of an internal civil war.

That's why Jesse ultimately spun off and got his 30 pieces of silver by establishing PUSH and co-opted the CRM, by faithfully exercising Göbbel's maxim. Eventually he would also co-opt Coretta, but for the longest time (a good 20 years) there was an almost invisible wall of bad blood between Jesse and the MLK legacy. I would attribute that to what my friend termed "Rap-ability". MLK and Jesse both had it, but no one from the Southern Christian Leadership could step up to the mic when MLK went down.

With all of the above in that context, I'd say as two men of God, MLK & Ronnie might not see eye-to-eye on everything, but they would certainly understand each other without much effort. And at the very least MLK would be welcome anytime in the Oval Office to advise and consult with Ronnie.

Andy Foster