Monday, January 19, 2009

MLK and the Obama Confusion

On the presupice of such a historic occasion, I am often reminded of the individuals that make up our diverse electorate. One could make the argument that in fact Obama was voted in because of his "blackness" or lack thereof (read previous posts). Many continue on to discuss the impact Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made on the public perception of African-Americans and the progress his work did to in effect elect Obama. The excitement of watching people pursue answers to complex questions and to reach beyond the accepted norms we live in is what this blogger has pursued; independant thought, intelligent conversation among Americans, and using more than 5% of your brain capacity.

Unfortunately, their arguments are misguided. Today I heard, again, the now famous qoute, "Rosa sat so MLK could walk so Obama could run so our kids can fly." Throughout this election I was reminded that that a black president would help other blacks succeed. I was told that this was what Dr. King had fought for. I was told that I am not black because I did not vote for Obama. I was told that he is the answer to take black americans to the next level.

What a feel good message. And if Americans of all races can accept the simple minded answers to alleviate poverty, fix the economic crisis, and eliminate crime. So be it.

But I don't think that is going to happen. Like other feel good messages, there will be a reality check. I think such a misguided qoute minimizes the works of the above individuals. Furthermore, it eliminates the personal responsibility.

Rosa Parks sat for injustice, Dr. King marched for equality, and President Obama, ran a hell of a campaign. He united the masses behind his message and his attitude for a better America. Linking race as a qualifier is as much discrimination as its dysfunctional polar.

Dr. Kings march continued after the Civil Rights Act of 1963. He marched against Vietnam, when he was assasinated, he was marching for sanitation workers in Memphis. The point is that his work was focused on equailty and that which is universally right.

Please understand, that focusing on President Obama's race and the historical accomplishment, will only devalue the published, j.d., editor of the Harvard Law Review, and accomplished human being he has become and will continue to be.