“It says to us first that the oppressor never voluntarily gives freedom to the oppressed. You have to work for it. Freedom is never given to anybody. Privileged classes never give up their privileges without strong resistance.”
—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
For the past 6 months, I’ve been reading The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Don’t judge me! I’m a busy girl.). And when I heard the news of the shooting at Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ public constituents meeting, the above quote from King immediately came to mind.
It’s still early in the investigation, and direct political connections haven’t been made, but that doesn’t change some disturbing particulars about our political climate. The rhetoric and imagery that is presently accepted in our political arena is extreme, ridiculous, and dangerous. Rhetoric like “Reload”
paired with crosshair imagery has no place in America’s political system. They send dangerous and violent messages that some misinterpret. We are the land of the free. We should be able to have different beliefs and represent various values without receiving death threats to our political offices or being accused of being un-American. The intensity of the hate and anger that is infiltrating our political system is dangerous, and it must be stopped immediately.
Like many in America, I’ve been fascinated with the Tea Party movement. Whether or not you agree with their beliefs, you have to admit the influence they have been
able to amass in the past 2-3 years is quite amazing. They will definitely go down in history as one of the most powerful political movements of our time, but have you ever asked yourself why? Why has the Tea Party been able to amass support and revitalize political activism the way they have? Reread Dr. King’s quote above.
The Tea Party is the epitome of the privileged class that Dr. King was mentioning in his above quote. They are those who have always had basic rights/privileges, like healthcare and education, and now that others are receiving access to what they’ve always had, they feel threatened. They don’t want to share these basic rights/privileges with others because they feel it will take away from the power they presently have. “If the poor have access to our healthcare or children of immigrants have access to our educational systems (even though it sucks anus, but that’s another blog), they may become like us” (as if an “us” and “them” should ever exist in one country).
What disappoints me most is not the fact that the Tea Party has “risen to power.” Clearly, the rebellion of the privileged class is nothing new or distinct to America. Dr. King’s quote is actually in reference to Ghana’s independence in 1957. What
disappoints me the most is no person or group has risen to counter the Tea Party.
Hear me clearly, I’m not trying to use my rhetoric to incite a political war. But I am saying the Tea Party has been allowed to monopolize the political conversation while we sit back sipping our Starbucks lattes, laughing at Stewart and Colbert, tweeting about Waka Flocka and Kat Stacks, and waiting for Obama to make a change happen.
If this country is ever going to become what our founding fathers established it to be we first have to stop being so passive and get into the conversation. We need a voice that will restore sanity, not just a rally. The extreme, bitter, and hateful crazy talk has to be balanced with a rational, mature, and nonviolent voice that acknowledges the rights and freedoms of all Americans, and individuals who’ve lived in this country all of their lives. We’ve have got to come to the realization that it’s not about being American, un-American, or more American than the other. And we don’t live in two different Americas either! We are all just as American as our neighbor, we all reside on the same soil, and we all should have the same rights, privileges, and freedoms as the other. As soon as we accept these facts, we will indeed become the America our founding fathers dreamed we would be. That will be the day that America is truly the land of the free and the home of the brave.