Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bob Parker: CBS News- '1968 a Year That Changed America'

Source:Bob Parker- Dr. Martin L. King, speaking at an African-American church.

"1968 A Year that Changed America with Harry Reasoner. A look back on the year 1968, produced by CBS News in 1978." 

From Bob Parker

Even though the civil rights movement had lost its champion in 1968 in Dr. Martin Luther King, what he contributed to it was enough to keep it going. And what that movement had accomplished up to 1968, never happens at least by then without Martin King. 

The civil rights movement is exactly that: civil rights for all Americans, not just the special few. It's not about special rights for special interest groups, but equal rights for all people. Which is what America should've always been as a liberal democracy: individual liberty and equal Rights and responsibility for all, not just the special few. 

What the opposition to civil rights was pushing and had a lot of success up until the 1940s, was to push an anti-democratic agenda for anyone who wasn't Caucasian and perhaps not male as well and not Protestant. And the worst part of the argument was the hypocrisy and contradictions in their argument basing it on the U.S. Constitution and states rights, trying to use the Constitution to deny equal rights and democracy for African-Americans.

Neo-Confederates who argued that Africans were not as equal as Europeans in America, even though if anything Africans have been in America as long as Europeans. Neo-Confederates also argued that states rights, saying the power of states is more important than the constitutional rights of individuals. And that states had the constitutional right to deny the constitutional rights of African-Americans. Who under the U.S. Constitution have the same constitutional rights of all other Americans. 

This was definitely a Far-Right argument coming from Neo-Confederates (who never got over losing the American Civil War) not Conservatives. Because Conservatives actually do believe in the U.S. Constitution and for enforcing and living up to it. 

Another ironic thing about the Far-Right in America, is that even though they've used the states rights argument to deny the constitutional rights of African-Americans fifty, sixty, seventy years ago, they've moved away from the states rights argument in the last twenty years or so on issues like gay marriage and marijuana. Saying the Federal Government has the authority to regulate these issues, not just constitutional rights for all Americans. Their argument is about political convenience, not constitutional principles.

Another shame of the assassination of Martin King along with the assassination of Jack Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy, was what could've been had these gentlemen lived out their lives, Jack Kennedy would be 93 going on 94 today so perhaps he would still be alive today, but that would be pretty impressive to live that long. 

Bobby Kennedy would be 85 today so there's a reasonable chance he would still be alive to today and Martin King would be 82 and chances are still living had he took care of himself. 

Longevity is not what I'm getting at and I'll focus on Dr. King even though Jack and Bobby are also heroes of mine. I believe Dr. King as we moved into the 1970s would've moved to focus on workers rights and poverty. And empowering African-Americans to have a bigger stake in life, to get a good education and become successful and self-sufficient and not dependent on public assistance. And to even own their own business's.

Minister Malcolm X had a different message when it came to Black Power, then Dr. King. His message was about empowering the less-fortunate to become self-sufficient and not just for African- Americans. If you judge people by what they accomplish in their lives and not by how long they live, then it's hard to find someone who lived a better life than Dr. Martin Luther King. 

Dr. King's message of peace and tolerance and equal rights for all and was able almost by himself to put that message on the map in America. And a lot of people of all races owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his contributions to American society. 

Dr. King was a leader for equal rights and equal justice and wanted a society where Americans and not just his children, would be judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin. Many ways why I'm a Liberal is because I judge people by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. And believe no American should benefit or suffer, simply because of their race, color, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, or religion.

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