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MLKAs conservative politicians like Gov. Pat McCrory dutifully troop to public platforms all over America today to laud Martin Luther King, Jr. and his accomplishments from the safe distance of 46 years, the good folks at Think Progress have posted a couple of articles this morning that remind us of some facts that are unlikely to make their way into many of these speeches and proclamations.

In “Why Martin Luther King’s dream is still unfulfilled,” Annie-Rose Strasser highlights “four of the things King demanded but never saw completed”: a living wage, desegregation, fair voting and unfettered unionization.

Meanwhile, in “4 ways Martin Luther King was more radical than you thought,” Igor Volsky points out that King pushed for a government-guaranteed right to a job, was a critic of capitalism and materialism, denounced the Vietnam War and was a champion of Planned Parenthood and reproductive rights.

In many ways, some of today’s events are reminiscent of the speeches and statements that accompanied the recent passing of Nelson Mandela (an icon who was actually, amazingly enough, older than King). It’s great that conservatives are lining up to laud MLK; it just would be nice of they’d also line up to laud all of the things for which he fought.

 

As I noted in this morning’s edition of the Weekly Briefing, (“What would MLK say?“) it’s a weird fact of modern politics that even many ultra-conservative politicians try to frame their messages as somehow being in keeping with Martin Luther King’s work and vision. As the piece noted:

“Like many other famous events in history, the speech is now so familiar that much of the original energy and meaning has been bleached out. If you doubt this, check out the conservative politicians who quote it or stand by in dutiful attention as the last few moments are replayed at King Day celebrations, sporting events and other public occasions.”

Now, just a few hours later, we have the latest a case in point from North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, who issued a statement today in which he said the following: Read More

As hundreds gathered in Durham Monday to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Governor Bev. Perdue told the audience that the civil rights leader would be troubled by the North Carolina’s legislature push to pass a voter ID law.

“He might remind us that America is strongest when we encourage everyone to vote on Election Day, not when we build barriers that disenfranchise,” said Perdue.

The governor also used the opportunity to criticize the Republican-led budget, which cut millions of dollars in state education spending. Perdue said Dr. King would agree that access to high-quality education is both a moral and an economic issue.

To hear Governor Perdue’s remarks during the 32nd Annual Martin Luther King Triangle Interfaith Breakfast, click below:

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