Monday, January 19, 2009
Happy MLK Jr. Day
Happy Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day,
or, Happy Pre-Obama-Inauguration Day,
or Happy Last Day of the George Walker Bush Presidency Day!
Really, take your pick, though all three possibilities are conjoined in ironic ways. How fitting that the last day of George W. Bush's brutal, corrupt, destructive disaster of a presidency falls on the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s federally-recognized holiday, a day that the departing Vice President, Dick Cheney, and the most recent Republican Presidential hopeful, John McCain, like many in their party, both vigorously opposed up to the point that it became official. How telling also that they are now the contemporary face of the Republican Party, a party now centered in the Deep South, even though its chief founder and first presidential exemplar--before whose Memorial the President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama, our soon-to-be First Lady, Michelle Robinson Obama, his two children, Sasha and Malia, assorted family members, political and artistic stars, and hundreds of thousands of everyday people, celebrated joyously yesterday--stood on behalf of defeating the South's rebellion, its ongoing system, and the nation's division, and embodied a model of leadership and vision that President Obama has shown he will follow.
How fitting also that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and example, his words, his dedication and persistence, his courage and fearlessness, his profound sense of hope, his great love for his people and all people, and above all, his sacrifice, honored today and a beacon for all the world, hover over this inauguration, lead us right into it, and provide another model our new president has avowed, and against which the departing debacle of a president represented the ultimate antithesis.
His, George W. Bush's, was a government, a nation, a society built on lies, on faithlessness and bad faith, on chicanery and con-artistry and complete indifference to and defiance of the rule of law, the Constitution, what this nation supposedly has stood for since its founding, on giving those who had everything more and depriving those who had little anything, on torture and war and renditions and poisoning the environment and funneling tax dollars into the hands of the privileged few, corporations, banks, insurance companies, landowners, on religious fanaticism and provoking religious fanaticism and the misuse and abuse of religion, on finding the least qualified, most dogmatic and well-connected, more doctrinaire people for jobs and giving them a free pass, on destroying institutions not for the sake of reforming them, but out of a repeatedly failed ideology, on division, on sexism and racism and homophobia and classism and ethnocentrism, on tokenism, on domination and hierarchy and luxury for the few and consumerism pressed to an insane degree and fake credit and phantom assets and valueless derivatives and a ghost economy, on so utterly shattering this society and societies across the world, shattering this economy and the global economy, shattering our politics and the global political economy and balance, that a titanic shock-and-awe assault on it might be possible if his party could extend its lease on power and control, except that the result was the election of a pragmatic, center-left, young, charismatic, visionary Black junior Senator from Illinois with an unusual background and a platinum tongue to replace him.
We are complicit in what is passing, and what will come to pass; Bush's failures are our failures, and, as tomorrow promises, our gain.
As I've read it said of Franklin Roosevelt in the comments section of Glenn Greenwald's blog more than once, when visited by a group of supporters early in his tenure, he told them: "I want to do the right thing. Now you have to make me." Let's support our new president, and in the spirit of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., and all who came before him and after him, let's make sure our new president does the right thing. He wants to, and we have to make him.