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If MLK were alive today…

© Tom Tomorrow

Yes, conservatives really are trying to lay claim to the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. It boggles the mind.



  1. If the right gets Martin Luther King, can the libs take Jesus?

    Monday, September 13, 2010 at 2:53 am | Permalink
  2. Moby wrote:

    As long as we’re sharing MLK revelations, he plagarized large portions of his doctoral thesis.

    Also, since someone has to bring it up, if MLK were alive today it would probably play out exactly like the Boondocks episode.

    Monday, September 13, 2010 at 3:24 am | Permalink
  3. Nikki wrote:

    The Teabugerers would find a second amendment solution for him.

    Monday, September 13, 2010 at 3:24 am | Permalink
  4. patriotsgt wrote:

    On the issue on Conservatives trying to lay claim to King now, don’t we have to go back to the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
    If my reading of history is correct didn’t the Conservatives take up the cause and push the legislation through while many Democrats including Sen Byrd opposed it?
    According to the votes cast for the act, on average, 80%+ of Republicans voted for it, compared to 60% avg for Democrats. This trend followed for the house and senate votings.

    So, who was a greater champion for civil rights while Dr. King was alive, Conservatives or Liberals?

    Monday, September 13, 2010 at 6:10 am | Permalink
  5. ebdoug wrote:

    sorry but the Republicans are the Democrats of old. If you look at the southern Republicans, they are a few generations removed from their Democratic ancesters. Lincoln would now be a Democratic. My great grandfather moved from Virginia to NYC after the war because the southern democrats were against any progress for the freed black. He became a Republican who espoused education for the freed slaves. All has changed.

    Monday, September 13, 2010 at 7:02 am | Permalink
  6. patriotsgt wrote:

    OK – so even if i’m right the truth can be twisted 180 degrees and now i’m wrong? So basically, there is no argument, no matter what I say I’ll be wrong, how convienant. So, if old Dems are really the new Repubs then what was Sen Byrd, Republican or Democrat?

    Monday, September 13, 2010 at 7:17 am | Permalink
  7. starluna wrote:

    The numbers PatriotSGT cites strike me as accurate. But it is important to remember that through the mid-1960s, the majority of Democrats in power in Congress were the conservative, and racist, Southern Dixie-crats. Just like Lincoln was not the same kind of Republican as we have today, those Democrats were not the same kind of Democrat we have today. Republicans definitely made their pro-corporatist turn in the early 20th century, but at that time many Northern Republicans in particular were significantly more progressive than they are today. And certainly more liberal than any of the Dixie-crats.

    If you are interested, you may want to read, “Judgment Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Laws That Changed America” by Nick Kotz. He does a decent job describing the political context in which the 1964 CRA was passed. It is very interesting reading.

    Monday, September 13, 2010 at 7:41 am | Permalink
  8. starluna wrote:

    And Senator Byrd was a Dixie-crat.

    I think this speaks to the complexity of people’s views and the fact that people’s (and even a political party’s) views can and do actually change over time. In recent years, Byrd was held liberal views and supported liberal policies. Not in every case, but in general.

    In the 1960s, he was way more conservative than he was in recent years and a pretty solid racist. Remember, he was a member of the KKK. But that is nothing unusual for Southern men who came to power in the era in which he did.

    Some of my students who interned in Congress state that Byrd, for all of his progressive views as of late, was still fairly chauvinistic. He was just so old that they just thought it was “quaint.”

    Monday, September 13, 2010 at 7:47 am | Permalink
  9. Not You wrote:

    No, “Patriot” sgt, you’re wrong because you’re doing the exact same kind of thing the cartoon above criticizes, which is trying to twist real history around to make it fit your fairy tale view of conservatives and liberals in history.

    SOUTHERN democrats AND SOUTHERN Republicans opposed the Civil Rights Act. Most of the rest of the national parties (63% democrat, 80% republican) was on board with it, and it was signed into law by a DEMOCRAT president.

    What happened was afterward, most of the SOUTHERN democrats switched parties, and the NATIONAL Republican party welcomed these open, militant racists with open arms. And they formed such a powerful and long-enduring coalition within the republican party that bigotry and xenophobia has become deeply ingrained in the GOP character.

    Byrd repeatedly recanted his old racist attitudes and said many times that he was mistaken. How many times did a renowned GOP racist of the same era, Strom Thurmond, say the same thing?

    Monday, September 13, 2010 at 8:04 am | Permalink
  10. patriotsgt wrote:

    Not You – Thurmond was a democrat.

    Monday, September 13, 2010 at 8:07 am | Permalink
  11. patriotsgt wrote:

    Here is a link that gives the nuts and bolts of the bill and it’s history in becoming law. It includes the breakdown on voting. Interestingly, southern cngressman and senators regardless of party seemed to against, while their northern counterparts voted for, regarless of their party. That would mean there was a fair amount of all types including modern day conservatives and democrats that voted for the legislation. (don’t ask me what it has to do with astonomy, but it seemd to be the most concise)

    Monday, September 13, 2010 at 8:15 am | Permalink
  12. Not You wrote:

    “Patriot” Sgt — Thurmond became a REPUBLICAN in 1964 and was so until he died in 2003. Or doesn’t the last 40 years of his life and career count?

    Look it up:

    That is, if you’re able to deal with actual facts instead of right wing fairy tales.

    He was exactly what I was talking about earlier–a high-profile, unabashed racist that the Republicans welcomed into their ranks with open arms. And unlike Byrd, he never explicitly denounced his earlier racist views and policies.

    Monday, September 13, 2010 at 8:23 am | Permalink
  13. patriotsgt wrote:

    Not You – It wasa less whether the politicians of 64 were dems or repubs, it had to do with whether they were northern or southern. If you read my second post and check the link you’ll see the point i’m trying to make. As far as my “far right fairy tale” I understand that you cannot see things from any other perspective but your own, and I forgive you. Now, if we are done with the rock throwing can we get on with a civil discourse on the subject?

    Monday, September 13, 2010 at 8:35 am | Permalink
  14. Not You wrote:

    “Patriot” sgt–its rock throwing now to point out where you were wrong and provide proof to that effect?

    Or calling you out on your revisionist history and calling it fairy tales, because that’s exactly how much truth it contains?

    Or to point out that these modern fairy tales are right wing, because ONLY delusional GOPers and Teabaggers even try to argue that what we define as ‘conservatives’ today helped with civil rights at all? THAT WAS THE WHOLE POINT OF THE COMIC ABOVE, AND YOU’RE JUST PROVING THE CARTOONIST RIGHT.

    But hey, you just keep ranting and insisting everyone who points out your falsehoods as ‘attacking’ you, we don’t really expect anything different.

    Monday, September 13, 2010 at 9:16 am | Permalink
  15. Iron Knee wrote:

    Hey hey, let’s try to be civil in here! Can we have a little less name calling please? You know things have gotten out of hand when comments have lots of CAPITAL LETTERS in them.

    The huge switch of Southern Democrats to Southern Republicans (which I lived through) even had a name, it was Nixon’s “Southern Strategy“. So while PatriotSgt’s numbers may be valid, they are misleading.

    Monday, September 13, 2010 at 10:38 am | Permalink
  16. steeve wrote:

    Patriot has a short memory — “who was a greater champion for civil rights while Dr. King was alive, Conservatives or Liberals”

    The answer was supposed to be “conservatives”, not “the north”.

    The southern democrats were conservatives. You can tell by the way they switched to republican. You can tell by the way the south stayed conservative for decades.

    This isn’t opposite day. It’s just word definition. When democrats hold conservative positions, they’re called conservatives. No magic.

    Monday, September 13, 2010 at 10:41 am | Permalink
  17. Steve hits the nail on the head. Patriot’s implied assertion seems to lie in the premise that Republican = conservative and Democrat = liberal, both today and in the 1960’s. Therein lies the problem.

    Monday, September 13, 2010 at 10:49 am | Permalink
  18. patriotsgt wrote:

    Alright, what I am trying to say (and possibly not so effectively) is neither party in 2010 can “claim” MLK. Neither party is as it was. There were no “progressives” and very very few “liberals” in 1964 so both sides are grasping for something that may not be theirs. Is there such a thing as a “conservative democrat” as existed in 1964. Yes, they are now called moderate democrats (of which I am one, and many in my family).

    For Steve and CGE, yes I got off track, but my information is correct concerning the lines were drawn more by north and south then by the existing parties at the time and here is the data. Which as Starluna pointed out the political landscape has changed so much since that time, it is difficult to compare.

    The original House version:

    •Southern Democrats: 7-87 (7%-93%)
    •Southern Republicans: 0-10 (0%-100%)

    •Northern Democrats: 145-9 (94%-6%)
    •Northern Republicans: 138-24 (85%-15%)

    The Senate version:

    •Southern Democrats: 1-20 (5%-95%)
    •Southern Republicans: 0-1 (0%-100%)
    •Northern Democrats: 45-1 (98%-2%)
    •Northern Republicans: 27-5 (84%-16%)

    Monday, September 13, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Permalink
  19. Marvin wrote:

    Jesus was a liberal. That’s what’s so amusing to me about the right wing lunatics who call themselves Christians. They are anything but.

    All of the best people in history were liberals.

    Monday, September 13, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Permalink
  20. No political party can lay claim to MLK because he wasn’t an elected official and never officially belonged to one. The debate here is which ideological wing can identify with him the clearest.

    There is clearly a small conservative effort to use King’s image in favor of right ideology, but I’m willing to bet that most left-thinkers would argue that King was a liberal through and through.

    The fact is that left and right, conservative and liberal, Democrat and Republican (if you REALLY want to mix in political parties, though in this case it is unnecessary and counterproductive to the debate) are all so interchangeable when you get into details that trying to analyze the values of someone who died forty years ago is an exercise in interpretation, speculation, and creative persuasion. If you put enough of a twist on something, a liberal idea can be championed as a conservative value, and vice versa.

    Monday, September 13, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Permalink
  21. patriotsgt wrote:

    Exactly ChinaGreenElvis.

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 5:05 am | Permalink
  22. steeve wrote:

    MLK’s policy was dominantly liberal — taxes, government spending, economic rights of individuals, foreign policy. There’s not a debate there.

    It’s mostly irrelevant, but still true. (Policy is correct or incorrect regardless of who supports or doesn’t support it.)

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Permalink
  23. Anonymous wrote:

    “The Teabugerers would find a second amendment solution for him.”

    They did, Nikki– and his name was James Earl Ray.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 8:12 am | Permalink

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