Consequently, Brother King is an empty vessel where his radical politics, and how he was one of the most unpopular people in the United States at the time of his murder, can be erased and filled with lies.
In the worst and most dishonest example, for Republicans, the radical Dr. King who was in reality a Democratic Socialist, can be remade as a type of conservative who would support their anti-poor, and anti-black and brown agenda.
For Democrats, Dr. King is viewed as one of the their team--because they are the de facto political organization which best (for what that is worth) represents the political interests of people of color, the working and middle classes, and those who are disgusted by an America that nakedly and publicly embraces corporate power and the agenda served by the plutocracy.
In reality, Dr. King would be disgusted with the Democratic Party, as it is just the more Left-wing of a two party political system that is stridently conservative, and neither serves the public interest nor the public good.
Moreover, Brother King was not beholden to either political party. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. held the Republicans in especially low regard. To that point, he wrote:
The Republican Party geared its appeal and program to racism, reaction, and extremism. All people of goodwill viewed with alarm and concern the frenzied wedding at the Cow Palace of the KKK with the radical right. The “best man” at this ceremony was a senator whose voting record, philosophy, and program were anathema to all the hard-won achievements of the past decade.
Senator Goldwater had neither the concern nor the comprehension necessary to grapple with this problem of poverty in the fashion that the historical moment dictated. On the urgent issue of civil rights, Senator Goldwater represented a philosophy that was morally indefensible and socially suicidal. While not himself a racist, Mr. Goldwater articulated a philosophy which gave aid and comfort to the racist. His candidacy and philosophy would serve as an umbrella under which extremists of all stripes would stand. In the light of these facts and because of my love for America, I had no alternative but to urge every Negro and white person of goodwill to vote against Mr. Goldwater and to withdraw support from any Republican candidate that did not publicly disassociate himself from Senator Goldwater and his philosophy.For me, Dr. King was a living and breathing person. He was not perfect. He was a dreamer. Dr. King was flawed. And he was not a saint.
We ought not to worship Dr. King. To do so, is a betrayal of one of the primary lessons taught to us by his life: flawed people can do great things. The search for perfection in our heroes is a lazy out that does the selfish work of making the common citizen immune and separate from sharing responsibility for the public good.
In all, the search for great men and great women to do the work of making society better supports the status quo. Social change is looking at us in the mirror everyday. Most Americans, across the color line, because of the peculiarities of group dynamics and the collective action problem, assume that someone else will effect positive social change. Power wins, and always has, through such reasoning.
If Brother Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. can be remade by the White Right and other intellectually dishonest white racists--and their black and brown self-hating allies--as a "Republican", then we should be able to entertain other radical acts of imagination too. In keeping with the Tea Party GOP and its media's lies about Dr. King, there ought not to be any boundaries on our fanciful thinking about that American titan.
Why should empirical reality limit how we discuss, think about, and locate Brother Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in American (and world) history? If he means everything and nothing, and this determination can be made based solely on our own personal agenda and priors, then let's have some fun. Why should the facts limit any discussion of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and legacy?
Some questions then...
1. What would Dr. King have said to extraterrestrials had they publicly arrived on Earth while he was alive? Would he make for a good emissary for the American people--and humanity--to alien civilizations?
2. A question: Was Dr. King a space alien? Perhaps he was not of this world?
3. If Dr. King was a professional wrestler, what would his finishing move have been? Of course, I vote for the "I have a Dream" sleeper hold.
4. If Dr. King was a adult film star, what would he have chosen for a stage name?