Wake County is not 1963 Birmingham. This profundity brought to us by N&O columnist Barry Saunders rather misses the point of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”.
King launched a series of public protests in Birmingham, not at the peak of a racist crackdown, but just after the city had repudiated the tactics of “Bull” Connor and when white clergy and community elders were ready to negotiate a slow and steady integration.
The clergymen who King responds to in the letter had circulated a statement that read in part:
We commend the community as a whole, and the local news media and law enforcement officials in particular, on the calm manner in which these demonstrations have been handled. We urge the public to continue to show restraint should the demonstrations continue, and the law enforcement officials to remain calm and continue to protect our city from violence.
This letter was undeniably measured and reasonable. Here is how King responded:
I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
The Wake County school board majority seeks a negative peace with the absence of tension while Rev. Barber seeks a positive peace with the presence of justice.
And for those a bit nauseated by school board member (and active tea partier) John Tedesco’s claim that he is upholding the legacy of Dr. King, watch this little clip of Stephen Colbert, who says of Glenn Beck, “Finally someone is bringing Martin Luther King’s movement back to its conservative white roots.
Here is a bit of interesting Associated Press reporting on the U.S. Supreme Court’s latest bid to pry weaponry into every corner of American life. Get this paragraph:
The court was split along familiar ideological lines, with five conservative-moderate justices in favor of gun rights and four liberals opposed. Chief Justice Roberts voted with the majority.
The five “conservative-moderate” justices against the four “liberals”, I see.
Democracy NC notes that Senate Dems are brilliant for dropping public financing of campaigns just as Dems are getting beat up in the press for shady campaign tactics.
That’s all I’ve got for now.