I want to say something insightful, useful, and witty about Rush Limbaugh's suggestion that he "sounds alot like Dr. King...more than Barack Obama". I want to feel some surprise or outrage in response to Laura Ingraham's mocking allusion to the assassination and murder of civil rights workers and black leaders as a type of joke in order to try to belittle Representative John Lewis.
But, Dr. King's memory is unfortunately part of "public memory". As a practical matter, this means that even white racists, such as the above murders' row of bigotry, who would have opposed Brother Dr. Martin Luther King Junior's radically humanistic struggle--and cheered his murder--can claim his legacy.
Ultimately, the audience for the White Right's public fellatio of a twisted and inverted version of Dr. King, one that shares little to no resemblance with the radical freedom fighter who actually lived, is their own public. The White Right and Tea Party GOP live in a fantasy world where global warming does not exist, tax cuts pay for themselves, and people rode dinosaurs on a planet that is only several thousands years old. This is a reality where what has famously been called the "paranoid style in American politics" has mated up with a political-entertainment news media complex to create a new type of normal which is detached from empirical reality.
A political community which is able to sustain such delusional beliefs will of course claim Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as one of their own and believe that he was a Tea Party Republican.
The facts are unkind (as they usually are) to the White Right and the Tea Party GOP conservatives who want to claim Dr. King's legacy, mission, and memory.
Given the ideological orientation of the contemporary Right-wing, a movement that is a union of white racism, white racial resentment, and authoritarianism, they would find almost every demand made by the organizers and supporters of the 1963 March on Washington to be "Un-American", "redistributive", "anti-white", an intrusion on "States' rights", and too "liberal".
Today's Tea Party GOP are the de facto heirs of the John Birch Society and White Citizens Counsels that fought against the Civil Rights Movement and full citizenship for people of color during the reign of Jim and Jane Crow.
With their coordinated assault on civil rights, voter disenfranchisement efforts, race-baiting, and open embrace of white identity politics, the former are simply continuing the latter's work in the present.
White supremacy changes and evolves over time. It is a type of poison handed down across generations and through communities. The Republican Party had their second moment of "race and reunion" when they absorbed the Dixiecrats in response to the victories of the Black Freedom Struggle in the late 1960s onward. The White Right would hate then, as they do now, the goals and animating energy of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
The Tea Party GOP is pathological in their hatred of the center right-leaning Barack Obama; Brother Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be their public enemy number one.
Such sentiments are a family affair. Old traditions, and relations, die hard.