A lot of people are saying that Barack Obama’s inauguration as President of the United States is the fruition of the activism of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Frankly, I don’t think that these people are paying attention to what Dr. King stood for – much of which Barack Obama has sold out.
Let’s look beyond the color of Barack Obama’s skin. Yes, it’s a good thing that the United States can elect a person with significant African ancestry. However, racial equality is not all that Dr. King worked for.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. worked for freedom for all people, regardless of race. He recognized that one of the most serious threats to freedom was unchecked power in the government. Dr. King also knew that the promises of the Constitution of the United States would be the basis for freedom for all, if it ever was to be achieved.
The government was threatened by Dr. King’s pro-freedom agenda, and so it violated the Constitution, spying on Dr. King for political reasons, and attempting to use the information found through its unconstitutional surveillance to destroy him. J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI, used warrantless wiretapping to listen in to Dr. King’s private and political conversations. They kept files on Dr. King simply because he was a political dissident.
George W. Bush has done the same to peaceful, law-abiding American dissidents. I know it’s not part of the ordinary narrative about Barack Obama, so it may shock you to hear this, but as a member of the U.S. Senate, Barack Obama helped George W. Bush maintain his system of J. Edgar Hoover warrantless espionage against American citizens. As an incoming President, Barack Obama and Eric Holder, his nominee to head the Department of Justice (J. Edgar Hoover’s old territory), have indicated that they intend to keep the unconstitutional powers to spy without constitutional restraint.
Barack Obama and Eric Holder may have African ancestry, but that does not automatically make them embodiments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream. Obama and Holder are actively promoting the same unconstitutional abuses of power that were used against Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
It’s not fashionable to do so these days, but I’m asking Americans to use Martin Luther King Day to look beyond the simplified story that Dr. King was merely campaigning against racism. It’s not fashionable to do so these days, but I’m also asking Americans to use Inauguration Day to look beyond the simplified story that Barack Obama is a living embodiment of the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Barack Obama is about to become the most powerful person on Earth. Because of that, we need to be skeptical of Mr. Obama’s use of power. We’re not doing any good if we are content to celebrate and adore Obama, as if his individual biography is sufficient protection from tyranny.
We are organizing an inauguration demonstration tomorrow at noon at the corner of 9th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington D.C., along the inaugural parade route. The message of the demonstration is simple: Barack Obama needs to fulfill the promise of the Oath of Office. He needs to uphold the Constitution.