Republicans, who got just 6 percent of the African American vote in 2012, saw this week’s 50th anniversary celebration of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr’s March on Washington passing them by. So they held their own commemoration. They sent an invitation “far and wide,” as one party official put it, asking black conservatives to lunch at party headquarters. About 150 accepted the invitation for chicken, cheesecake and cheeky suggestions that the late civil rights leader would have supported the causes of today’s conservatives.Actions speak louder than words and the GOP effort to recreate a modern version of the Jim Crow laws makes a mockery of King's legacy.
Unfortunately, the Party of Lincoln discovered that its technical capability was still rather 19th century. The wireless sound system failed, and the microphone picked up only every few words. . . . . . After a pause, the audio troubles were fixed for the rest of the event. But there remained a good deal of static in the message that came out over the next two hours. Those speaking to the group agreed on the desirability of appropriating King and the anniversary, but they proposed different and contradictory ways.
Bob Woodson, a conservative activist, got a standing ovation after he said “We should not wait for evil to wear a white face before we get outraged” and urged his listeners to condemn “corrupt” black politicians. “I think if Dr. King were alive today, he would step on some of these sacred issues.”
It’s anybody’s guess what King would do, but it seems a bit of a stretch to think he would do what T.W. Shannon, speaker of the Oklahoma House, told the audience.
“The key to fulfilling the dream” of King’s, he said, included “quality education for all our children whether in public or private schools,” a “limited government” and curbing a “ferocious appetite for bigger government.” The dream, he went on, must be protected from “contaminants of government dependence, class warfare, socialism and any other pollutant that would muzzle the ring of freedom.”
RNC officials who spoke . . . . were less creative in attempting to turn King into a conservative Republican. Sharon Day, RNC co-chairman, noted that it was a Republican Congress that passed the women’s suffrage amendment — in 1919. Reince Priebus, RNC chairman, made the requisite references to the party’s birth and the Great Emancipator.