we're right back to 'barack obama/martin luther king'. he took the oath with king's bible. so i'll do this one more time. to what extent is it a realization of king's dream that a black man now controls 'the mightiest military in the history of the world'? or a sprawling system of federal detention for immigrants? or unprecedented surveillance powers? to what extent was king dreaming of a time when a black man could rain death on you anywhere in the world with robots? see, whether king quite got this completely or not, his ethical and spiritual vision was not compatible with exercising political power, which rests on violence. many non-resistants and pacifists, for example leo tolstoy and william lloyd garrison, have seen that. now, on the other hand, maybe king's non-violence was a strategy: just a strategy: a mere strategy. i don't think you could support that out of king's writings and speeches, however.
on the other hand, it's pretty amazing how far he and we have come on gay rights. he got up there and said 'stonewall.' i was telling my twelve-year-old daughter jane that not that long ago, when ellen degeneres came out as a lesbian, they canceled her sitcom. it's like i was talking about jim crow segregation or something: she couldn't actually believe it. (sitcoms ain't selma, but ellen is someone jane knows about.)
but king would have been foursquare on gay rights as soon as the movement really emerged, i believe. obama presented gay rights as an obvious corollary to civil rights for black folks, which they are. but i remind you that he was not there, oh, you know, eighteen months ago. i don't think that he didn't know that this followed directly from like everything he ever said; i think he didn't endorse it - really, the most obvious demand of equality and justice on his own account today - because he thought it would damage him politically. this is why, if you want someone who can endorse even his own supposedly deepest principles, you must look for leaders who are outside the political system. there are no, and there can be no, leaders within it.