Obama-King Comparison

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Updated: January 19, 2015
president-barack-obama-fulfilling-the-dream

By Eric Graham

This article first appeared on Blackathlete.net on January 11th 2011.

hopeNORTH CAROLINA (BASN) — America needed President Barack Obama. And still needs him. His election was supposed to unite a divided nation.

His unique background…., life.., story, and education, was suppose to be celebrated; not hated.

He was the perfect candidate, at the perfect time in history. He wasn’t Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Dick Gregory, Cynthia McKinney, Shirley Chisholm or Allen Keys. He was Barack Hussein Obama.

He was a fresh new face in an old world of politics. He was good-looking, intelligent, and well-spoken. His words and speeches were supposed to inspire and energize a new generation of young people.

And they have.

His election was supposed to give Black people hope in an American government, who historically had enslaved, beaten, lynched, raped, persecuted, killed, terrorized,imprisoned, discriminated, hated, and denied them… decent housing, proper education, the right to vote, and access to public facilities.

But he was supposed to be more than the President of Black America; he was supposed to be the President of the United States of America.

And he has been….. just that. As a result, his wife, the would-be future First Lady Michelle Obama was correct during a campaign rally in Milwaukee when she said, “for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.”

Why? Because the election of her husband was supposed to improve America’s relationship with the entire Muslim world which had been damaged by the previous Bush Administration.

His election, in fact, was supposed to improve America’s public relation with the rest of the world and remove the Axis of Evil label which had been placed upon it. kin

Yes.

The election of President Obama was supposed to erase 412 years of American Imperialism.

This is what they thought.

This is what they planned. But America was not quite ready for President Obama.

They couldn’t get pass the color of his skin.

They couldn’t get pass his “African” name. As a result, America has become more racists, more violent, more materialistic, more xenophobic, more conservative, more imperialistic and more hateful. Now they are burning Korans, attacking Muslims, arresting Mexicans illegally, and assassinating governmental officials…..But in the world of Obama, things like this were not supposed to happen.

prasThe election of President Obama or the election of the first Black President, was suppose to be something magical, where with the wave of a magic wand – racism would come to an end, sexism would come to an end, classism would come to an end, world hunger would no longer exist, war would disappear, unemployment lines would decrease, gas prices would drop to 0.99 cents a gallon, graduation rates would increase, the NCAA would implement a college football playoff system, and everybody would be given a brand new car by Oprah Winfrey.

But this was not the Oprah Winfrey show, this was, and still is America, the greatest country in the world, which was founded on the slaughter of the Native Americans, the enslavement of Africans and the exploitation of the poor.

And the election of one Black man and a few crying voters could not and would not change its racist, violent, and exploitative past. But the people still believed President Obama. They believed in the CHANGE that he spoke of…..For this reason, many people even felt Obama was the completion of Martin Luther King’s dream.

But the Obama-King comparison was inadequate. It made a great tee-shirt to be sold on the streets of Harlem but it was like comparing apples with oranges.

Martin-Luther King was a preacher.

Obama is a politician.

They were direct opposites.

Plus, their agendas were totally different. King wanted to win souls. Obama wanted to win an election. King wanted to change the people’s hearts. Obama want to change the people’s vote. King earned a Nobel Peace Prize. But Obama was given one. ki

With that analogy, King might have even predicted the coming of President Obama when he said,“”Although genuinely popular [Negro] leaders are now emerging, most are selected by white leadership, elevated to position, supplied with resources and inevitably subjected to white control.”

Yes.

These were the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Therefore, the election of a black president was not and could not have been what Martin Luther King Jr. saw on the mountain top. Dr. King, in fact, said later that his dream had become a nightmare in a speech delivered in Atlanta, Georgia in 1967.

“In 1963…in Washington, D.C.,…I tried to talk to the nation about a dream that I had had, and I must confess…that not long after talking about that dream I started seeing it turn into a nightmare…just a few weeks after I had talked about it. It was when four beautiful…Negro girls were murdered in a church in Birmingham, Alabama. I watched that dream turn into a nightmare as I moved through the ghettos of the nation and saw black brothers and sisters perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity, and saw the nation doing nothing to grapple with the Negroes’ problem of poverty. I saw that dream turn into a nightmare as I watched my black brothers and sisters in the midst of anger and understandable outrage, in the midst of their hurt, in the midst of their disappointment, turn to misguided riots to try to solve that problem. I saw the dream turn into a nightmare as I watched the war in Vietnam escalating….Yes, I am personally the victim of deferred dreams, of blasted hopes.”mlj

Yes.

Martin Luther King Jr. said he saw his dream become a nightmare.

obadYes.

King said that he personally was “the victim of deferred dreams, and of blasted hopes.”

Oddly, it seemed as if history has repeated itself because the Hope that President Obama promised during his presidential campaign has also been blasted. But it’s not his fault, we can’t blame him. Because, as much as President Obama might want to change America, he is simply a “pawn in the political chess game of politics.”

Why? Because America does not want to change.

This is why you have seen the Tea Party suddenly rise up. White Nationalism rise up. Sarah Palin rise up. Conservative right-wing talk shows rise up and spread their toxic rhetoric. And that’s why you hear slogans like “We want our country back.”

As a result, we pray for President Obama’s protection, we pray for his family, and we pray that our ancestors give him divine wisdom to govern this great nation in the right direction despite all of the death threats and opposition coming from the right, the left, and the center. So as the country celebrates the legacy of MLK this Monday, I suggest President Obama ponder the wise words of Dr.King.

“Don’t let anybody make you think God chose America as his divine messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world. God has a way of standing before the nations with justice and it seems I can hear God saying to America “you are too arrogant, and if you don’t change your ways, I will rise up and break the backbone of your power, and I will place it in the hands of a nation that doesn’t even know my name. Be still and know that I’m God. Men will beat their swords into plow shafts and their spears into pruning hooks, and nations shall not rise up against nations, neither shall they study war anymore.”.”

king2I don’t know about you, I ain’t going to study war anymore.

Eric D. Graham is a graduate  of Winston-Salem State University, where he received a BA in Mass Communications, with a concentration in Radio & Television, with a minor in History, with an emphasis in African-American Studies. Currently, he is the Managing Editor of BASN, where his cartoon Here Comes The Hater appears weekly along with his thought-provoking articles. Graham can be reached  at lbiass34@yahoo.com www.bobbeethehater.blogspot.com

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