Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to the Southern Christian Leadership Council, August 16, 1967:
And I say to you, I have also decided to stick with love, for I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind’s problems. And I’m going to talk about it everywhere I go. I know it isn’t popular to talk about it in some circles today. And I’m not talking about emotional bosh when I talk about love; I’m talking about a strong, demanding love. For I have seen too much hate. . . I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love. . . .
And not that anybody asked me, but if I had any remaining inclination to hate, this ahistorical, too clever by half, self-congratulatory pile of dogshit would definitely be a good spark for it. What a bunch of hooey. King forced America to confront the disparity between its historically dishonest claims to virtue and the bleak reality of its black citizens through slavery, Jim Crow, and the civil rights movement. He was a radical, seeking to create an American reality that more honestly comported with its self-perceptions of morality and right. The fact that he did it with an appeal to biblical values only makes it “conservative” if you buy the right wing conceit that only conservatives can appeal to religion.
The reality is that there was nothing conservative about King at all, and his project hasn’t ended. If we didn’t know before November 8 how much farther we still have to travel, we certainly do now. What we don’t need are clever, cynical editorial writers seeking to give everyone from Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump a feel good moment. Martin Luther King had no patience for such nonsense, and neither should we.
But hey, love ya, Fred Hiatt. Even if you are morally bankrupt and dishonest.