It was a day we had hoped we would never see: a second Inauguration Day for Obama. Not only is there now a second inauguration, but an Inauguration Day Part II, as Inauguration Day fell on a Sunday. By law, he has to take the oath on the 20th of January, which he did in a quiet ceremony. But to accommodate his adoring, freeloading public, he will take the oath again today, accompanied by marching bands, a host of media cheerleaders, and expensive inaugural balls.
At his last inaugural such luminaries as Yasir Arafat were present. So we must endure listening to him lie – for the third time – that he will protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, even as he delivers more Executive Orders and appoints more Progressive judges to tear it to pieces.
By coincidence, this is also the designated Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday, a federal holiday. Even though the man was born on January 15th, and it would have been more appropriate to celebrate the Monday holiday on the 14th of January, only one day before his actual birthday, the federal government waved its magic wand to make sure his birthday was celebrate on the second inauguration of our first black, and Communist, president.
A column, called Black Voices, on the Huffing Post website, notes that MLK had another initiative – economic, as well as social, justice. Initially, LBJ was considered a hero by blacks, along with King, for making basic civil rights possible for black people, like being able to drink out of a public water fountain or sit at a lunch counter, for crying out loud. No problem with King there. But he felt that not enough was being done to eradicate poverty, despite Johnson’s proclaimed, “War on Poverty.” King and the Progressives felt money being “wasted” on Vietnam should have been spent on the inner cities.
“Frustrated,” HP’s Jannell Ross writes, “King began criticizing the Johnson administration and the Vietnam War. That March, he officially launched The Poor People’s Campaign. Around the same time, King demanded $30 million for anti-poverty programs and 500,000 affordable housing units and began making plans for civil disobedience in Washington.
“The Poor People’s Campaign failed to excite some of King’s oldest allies– people who had been with him during the bus boycotts in Montgomery, Ala., and the demonstrations that followed the bombing of Birmingham, Ala.’s, 16th Street Baptist Church, which killed four little girls. Even some who had allowed their children to protest Birmingham’s segregated lunch counters and face down Bull Connor, fire hoses and police dogs, weren’t so sure.”
“’At the time, blacks tended to view [President Lyndon] Johnson in the same historical frame that they saw Lincoln,’” said Lawrence Eldridge, a religious scholar and historian who wrote the 2011 book “Chronicles of a Two-Front War: Civil Rights and Vietnam in the African American Press.” ‘Sometimes they elevated him above Lincoln because his contributions –- the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act — had been so enormous and, of course, current.’”
“But for King, commitment to reducing inequality meant speaking publicly about Johnson’s shifting priorities, and challenging private landlords and city governments that shortchanged poor communities with lower-quality services like trash pickup, building inspections and street-cleaning.
“King was also a vocal an advocate of government policies that would increase employment and of laws mandating that employers pay living wages. He utterly opposed ‘right to work’ laws.”
King’s economic justice campaign was downplayed by the Media and denied by Progressives, who insisted King was not a Communist. King’s adversaries have insisted that in his last days he, indeed, had taken such a turn and Ross tells us, was planning civil disobedience demonstrations. But by that time, he’d been assassinated and become a revered, martyred figure whose legacy one dared not question.
Obama will take the oath of office on both Lincoln’s and King’s Bibles.
“The prudent, penniless beginner in the world, labors for wages awhile, saves a surplus with which to buy or land, for himself; then labors on his own account another while, and at length hires another new beginner to help him. This, say its advocates, is free labor—the just and generous, and prosperous system, which opens the way for all—gives hope to all, and energy, and progress, and improvement of condition to all.”
“No country can sustain, in idleness, more than a small percentage of its numbers. The great majority must labor at something productive.” Abraham Lincoln
“The good and just society is neither the thesis of capitalism nor the antithesis of communism, but a socially conscious democracy which reconciles the truths of individualism and collectivism.”
“And one day we must ask the question,
Why are there forty million poor people in America? And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I’m simply saying that more and more, we’ve got to begin to ask questions about the whole society.”
“We must develop a program that will drive the nation to a guaranteed annual income. Now, early in this century this proposal would have been greeted with ridicule and denunciation, as destructive of initiative and responsibility. At that time economic status was considered the measure of the individual’s ability and talents. And, in the thinking of that day, the absence of worldly goods indicated a want of industrious habits and moral fiber. We’ve come a long way in our understanding of human motivation and of the blind operation of our economic system. Now we realize that dislocations in the market operations of our economy and the prevalence of discrimination thrust people into idleness and bind them in constant or frequent unemployment against their will. Today the poor are less often dismissed, I hope, from our consciences by being branded as inferior or incompetent. We also know that no matter how dynamically the economy develops and expands, it does not eliminate all poverty.”
“The problem indicates that our emphasis must be twofold. We must create full employment or we must create incomes. People must be made consumers by one method or the other. Once they are placed in this position we need to be concerned that the potential of the individual is not wasted. New forms of work that enhance the social good will have to be devised for those for whom traditional jobs are not available.” Martin Luther King, Jr.