Monday, July 15, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Sunday, August 29, 2010
Beck, Palin, and Martin Luther King
By Selected News Articles @ 3:54 PM :: 8572 Views :: National News, Ethics

Editorial of The New York Sun | August 28, 2010

The speeches were not incendiary, for the movement is not basically political. The deep feeling present came of itself from the crowd. The spontaneity of the marching, the emotional reaction to the singing, the quiet fellowship of the audience provided evidence; the profound devotion to this most sincerely embraced of all causes was obvious. If the democratic system is to be workable we must come back to this deep, non-political popular feeling as the primary sovereignty. The legislature of the nation can never lead the people; it would pervert democracy if it did. The noble spirit of the March is inescapable and its manifestations must eventually be found in Congress.

* * *

As Glenn Beck was preparing to convene today his march on Washington to restore America’s honor, we browsed through newspaper archives and read coverage of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom that took place on the same day 47 years ago. There was much inspiring comment at the time, including an editorial in the New York Times. But we found none that made the point better than the sentences above, which are from the coverage of the march in a tiny newspaper, called the Forum, then published at Massachusetts by the editor who now conducts the New York Sun.

Their author, Andrew Kull, then a high school student, has been one of our own inspiriters ever since. He went on to a career as a professor of law, during which he wrote a classic book, “The Color-Blind Constitution.” We are struck, reflecting on the march that is taking place today, by the similarity of themes. There is a sense now, as there was then, marked not only in Professor Kull’s piece but also back then in the editorial of the New York Times, that Congress had become, if not irrelevant, then laggard and that something larger and deeply American was afoot.

Back then, the Times pointed out that the House Judiciary Committee, which could have been responding to the March for Jobs and Freedom by dealing with the Kennedy Administration’s civil rights bill, was on recess. “Congressmen say nothing much has changed in their evaluation of the bill,” the Times wrote, “and few display any heightened sense of urgency.” Professor Kull reported that but 150 of 537 congressmen had attended the march. “The reaction from the Capitol seemed almost oblivious to the demonstration,” he wrote. It would take Kennedy’s assassination and the rise of Lyndon Johnson and a coalition of forces by more than 100 civil rights and labor groups to gain passage of the Civil Rights Act.

Against such titanic events there is, among the elites today, a certain amount of sneering at the Beck event. “It is a farce of an event in the way the bookish Karl Marx meant it,” wrote one columnist of the Daily Beast. “‘History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.’” And it is true that Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin will be standing where giants once stood — King, for sure, but not only King. Speakers in 1963 included Roy Wilkins of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, James Farmer of the Congress of Racial Equality and John Lewis, the most radical of the group in 1963, and a figure who may be even greater than any of them, A. Philip Randolph of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.

But we are not inclined to join those who sneer at the event unfolding today — and for the reasons that Professor Kull marked so long ago. Say what one will about Mr. Beck and Mrs. Palin, it is no small thing to draw 100,000 people to a march on Washington. That they are conservative leaders who are reaching for the symbolism of Martin Luther King can attest only to his historical triumph. They may not share the socialism of, say, Randolph. But the millions Mr. Beck and Mrs. Palin have inspired, they, too, are part of what Mr. Kull called “this deep, non-political popular feeling” that is the “primary sovereignty” in America.

* * *

As we sat down to write this editorial, we put in a phone call to two figures of the civil rights movement we admire, Norman and Velma Hill, and found them at their apartment in Manhattan. An aide at the Congress of Racial Equality, he had been the staff coordinator of the march in 1963. When King spoke of his dream, Norman Hill was standing there with him. Mr. Hill went on to run the A. Philip Randolph Institute. Neither of them is a partisan of Mr. Beck or Mrs. Palin. They feel Mr. Beck made a mistake in setting his event for the anniversary of the 1963 march. But they comprehend that the desperation today is not only among the poor but also the middle class. What they rue today is not only the lack of attention to the question of jobs but also the polarization in our politics, on the left and right. By our lights a restoration of employment in this country is not unrelated to the restoration of for which the thousands are marching in Washington today, and we will see what a recalcitrant Congress will do about both after the popular sovereignty asserts itself in November.



RELATED: Restoring Honor: Glenn Beck rallies 500,000 on anniversary of “I have a Dream” speech


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii