“I am not sad that Black Americans are rebelling; this was not only inevitable but eminently desirable. Without this magnificent ferment among Negroes, the old evasions and procrastinations would have continued indefinitely.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“A new television ad from Donald Trump’s campaign raises questions about Hillary Clinton’s health, once again elevating fringe conspiracy theories to the forefront of the presidential race.” – CNN, October 11, 2016
My well-meaning friend says it’s wrong to go after the President
for his cognitive and physical decline. I remember Hillary
in a 2016 debate saying that when they go low, we go high;
well, I’d rather win at all costs than feel good about how I
lose. What about Dr. King, my friend asks. Always returning
to the refuge of the misappropriation of history. The keepers
of the status quo (who among us has not been a keeper?)
have stolen so much—Jesus the radical Jew, Dr. King the
rabble-rouser. The surest way to inoculate the world from change
is to douse the flames of passion in stone, make of them a statue
we can reverently—and safely—visit once or twice a lifetime.
Schoolchildren learn to marvel at the peacemaker, the saint of
love-for-all. As do adults who shake their head at the idealistic.
Do they study lynchings and Church bombings? George Wallace
and Emmet Till? I confess again to dangerous fury. Do not ask me
to stuff it in a vase like a bouquet of plastic flowers. Real people
are dying, the rich soil nearly depleted of hope. I will be ruthless
in the pursuit of justice. I will not hang myself in effigy, though,
nor resort to unproductive violence. Breathe easy, Mr. President.
I desire you in prison, alive and caged. If you dare accuse
me of stooping to your level, I will turn my stooped back to you.
Beware of things that break easily. Beware of that which cracks
but does not appear to break. Despots will parade them both
before you to show their façade of strength, and to justify it.
The true traitor lacks not morals but moral imagination. I shall
no longer grant the premise that we must debate amidst the
rubble of a world the unimaginative have plundered—
People of goodwill want to know
how we can lose when we’re so sincere?