think we’ve reached Peak White Martin at last. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders began Wednesday’s press briefing by “honoring” the memory of the murdered Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by reading the last few paragraphs of his “mountaintop” speech, which he delivered at the Masonic Temple in Memphis, Tennessee the night before he was shot down on a motel balcony.
Watching SHS, functioning as the official voice of a president* who started his road to the White House by spreading lies and slander about the first African-American president, reading those words in her dead-eyed Weekend-Anchor-in-Fort-Smith voice was enough to make me feel radically non-non-violent, which really is not the proper way to feel on this solemn occasion.
At this point, I think it’s time to give White Martin a rest. In his death, the country that did so much to hinder his work in life fashioned up White Martin to make him useful in death. His work on economic inequality and against the atrocity that was the war in Vietnam was soft-pedalled into oblivion and replaced by an almost fanatical devotion to one line in an epic speech he gave in 1963, that one about the content of someone’s character. White Martin was a conciliatory figure, instead of the Martin Luther King, Jr. whose house was bombed, whose phones and hotel rooms were bugged, and who was violently driven out of Chicago when he tried to lead an open housing march. If Martin Luther King, Jr. was so damned conciliatory, why did someone shoot him in the head?