Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Promises, Politics, and Progress

From Salon’s coverage of today’s anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom:
If you listened to President Obama’s commemoration of 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s speech at the March on Washington, and heard a mere paean to the civil rights movement, you weren’t paying enough attention.

At its core, Obama’s speech was a reminder--almost a warning--to minorities and equality advocates not to lose sight of the fact that politics is central to the cause of advancing the causes of the progressive movement King helped unleash.

When Obama’s opponents lambaste him for politicizing the anniversary of the March, as they already are, they’re not basing their criticisms on anything illusory--they’re hoping to diminish its impact.

That’s because Obama beseeched his politically detached supporters to remember that the things they want to see happen in the country won’t happen if they stay that way.

“To secure the gains that this country has made requires constant vigilance, not complacency,” Obama said. “Whether by challenging those who erect new barriers to the vote or ensuing that the scales of justice work equally for all and the criminal justice system is not simply pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails, it requires vigilance.”
You can read the whole piece here. And a full transcript of the President’s “stirring speech on inequality” can be found here.

READ MORE:President Obama Shows the Progress We’ve Made. His Speech Shows How Terribly We’ve Failed,” by Ezra Klein (The Washington Post); “Obama and the Promised Land,” by Ed Kilgore (Washington Monthly); “Nastiest Responses to Today’s March on Washington,” by Alex Halperin (Salon); “A Partisan Advantage at the Lincoln Memorial,” by Steve Benen (The Maddow Blog); “Boehner, Cantor Turned Down Chance to Speak at March Anniversary,” by Emma Dumain (Roll Call).

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