Yesterday, I wrote here about how the Martin Luther King Jr. of the public imagination has been reduced into a cuddly Care Bear to make him palatable to the picket fence crowd, enabling movement conservatives claim his legacy by forgetting nearly everything he stood for. In fairness, I was not the only one who did so, Salon’s Joan Walsh said more or less the same thing, in a beautiful case of great minds thinking alike.
It was only later that day that I read that Governor Jan Brewer had issued a call for Arizonans to ring bells in honor of the 50th anniversary of The March on Washington.
Old timers may remember that this is the same Jan Brewer who, as a State Senator, supported the notorious Governor Evan Mecham and voted against the MLK holiday twice.
Perhaps it is unfair to hold something that happened so long ago against her, but there is little evidence that the Governor has learned anything in the intervening time. This is someone who, after all, gained a national profile by targeting the Mexican-American community for police harassment with SB1070. More recently, she supported and signed legislation intended to suppress minority voting rights, then invoked the Neoconfederate canard of “State’s Rights” as she praised the Supreme Court for gutting the Voting Rights Act, a law which King called for in his “I Have A Dream” speech. Far from being ancient history, this has happened over the last few months.
So the question is, beyond empty platitudes about “freedom” and “the dream,” which part of Dr. King’s agenda does the Governor believe in?
The Governor’s call is a nice gesture and I am sure that it makes somebody feel better about themselves, but without substance, the bells ultimately ring hollow.