The Martin Luther King holiday is upon us.
In “Through the Looking Glass” (Or maybe it’s in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”) The Walrus and the Carpenter are forever fighting. They oysters try to get them to the bargaining table and they succeed. The Walrus and the Carpenter agree to eat the oysters.
All of which brings us to the annual rant about not second guessing King, but with a slight difference. For many years, we’ve been saying it’s an insult to co-opt his name and insert what we think he would say about current conditions. But things have gotten so bad, we have to step back from that. Because what he’d likely be today is appalled.
Income inequality. Certainly he would have something to say about that. But unlike the hard left it probably wouldn’t be a Robin Hood solution, take from the rich and give to the poor.
Nor would it be the right wing solution: cut benefits, end the safety net and let them all become entrepreneurs.
If there’s a middle solution, it’s silent. Let’s hear it.
Race relations. They’re in horrible tatters. And it’s not just in Chicago and Ferguson, Missouri and Cleveland and in New York.
The left’s position, expressed by police brutality victim Rodney King, “Why can’t we all get along?” doesn’t work.
The right’s position: Racism is a form of collectivism we would all get along if instead of black or white we’d all think green. Green as in money, not as in environmental protection.
If there’s a middle position it’s silent. Speak up.
Homeland Security. King was a fighter for human rights. The Patriot act does as much or more to restrict American freedoms since “separate but equal.” But “separate” was right out front where you could fight it. Now, we have secret courts and we frisk little old ladies in wheelchairs, tap phones, read emails, track your websites and maybe have secret prisons.
That he’d oppose the idea of increased security is in doubt and speculative. That he’d oppose the mechanics practiced today is not.
What about Charlie Hebdo? Probably, Martin would rail against singling out Muslims for persecution. What he’d say about the bloodshed is an easy guess: he’d oppose violence. That he did while still alive.
King family dysfunction. He’d probably try to get the feuding family members together. But, then, if he were alive, he not they would decide where his assets and intellectual property would go.
He’d probably think little of the tea party freak show or the congressional freak show or the NRA freak show or the Citizens United freak show.
He might or might not support the Al Sharptons of the world, those small men who now stand on his grave and his memory.
But one thing he surely wouldn’t be: the oysters.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2015