Rival Rallies Over MLK
Here is some of a radio spot I wrote ...
Former Republican party vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was the headline speaker at the conservative event called “Restoring Honor”.
She said she was honored to speak at the same historic spot as Martin Luther King Jr. did 47 years ago.
Palin said she was also proud of the large crowd which had gathered, stretching along the Washington Mall’s reflecting pool nearly to the Washington monument.
“It is so humbling to get to be with you patriots, you who are motivated and engaged and concerned, knowing to never retreat. We must restore America and restore her honor.”
Conservative television host and author Glenn Beck organized the rally and also gave a call to action, based on God, individual initiative and national pride.
“Do we choose to look back or do we do what every great generation in America has done in times of trouble. Look ahead. Dream about what we are going to become, not worried about what we are. Look forward, look west, look to the heavens, look to God and make your choice.”
Nearly all the crowd was white. Many had tee-shirts supporting different tea party organizations, a grassroots movement which opposes big government in non-military matters.
But Beck’s rally was not the only one laying claim to the Martin Luther King Jr. legacy.
Civil rights groups marched and sang in a rival event that was called “Reclaim the Dream” in another part of downtown Washington, at Dunbar High School.
Clifton Arrington who attended the “I Have a Dream Speech” in 1963 led a group of marchers from the New Jersey-based People’s Organization for Progress.
“I think there needs to be a lot more work to be done in the United States of America and freedom and justice is not what it should be for all people. That is why we are still marching and trying to realize the dream.”
He had no comment on the other rally, but another participant, Tehuti Imhotep was angry.
“If a wolf puts on sheep’s clothing that does not mean it is no longer a wolf. It is still the wolf in sheep’s clothing. So if you disguise racism of today in another way, like Beck, it is the same sort of racism.”
Many at the “Reclaim the Dream” rally felt the tea party movement started in opposition to Barack Obama, the first African American U.S. president.
Police were spread throughout the city to break up any possible altercations. Other artists who put up a giant mural of Martin Luther King said they felt his words of America standing together were being forgotten by many.