Obama, King and the Besieged Citizens Who Came Before

Abby Zimet

With the approach of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, an incisive look at its key irony at this time and place: that the "aggregated moral will of the civil-rights movement," whose leaders all had their mail read and their calls recorded, helped elect an African-American President "whose tenure coincides with.... a dawning surveillance state." From The New Yorker.

"The moral arc of the universe is long, and it bends toward irony...The Presidency of Barack Obama is the product of besieged citizens whose mail was read, whose telegrams were intercepted, whose phone calls were recorded and used against them. That figures whose dissent consisted of a demand that the United States abide by its own Constitution could be vacuumed into a system meant to trace foreign threats raises the question of what other democratic demand, what present moral inconvenience, is being similarly thwarted."

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