This year's Martin Luther King Day comes with the usual dose of cognitive dissonance. Can we get any more grotesque than smarmy, other-hating Mike "I Am Not A Bigot I Just Sound Like One" Pence co-opting King by noting he "inspired us to change" just like his fuehrer? Who thought that would fly? Judging from social media, they miscalculated. Many prayed for lightning to strike Pence; an Alt Fed employee cheered the comparison by juxtaposing King and Trump quotes - MLK: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." DT: "Grab them by the p**sy. You can do anything." MLK: "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'" DT: "These aren't people. These are animals," etc; others cited King's 1964 Berlin speech speech on the subject of walls, "a symbol of the divisions of men on the face of the earth... For here on either side of the wall are God’s children, and no man-made barrier can obliterate that fact." One-upping Pence in mind-boggling tone-deafness, the NRA also pointed out King really liked guns. No words.
Added to the discordant mix was a shot of racist punk privilege from a mob of MAGA-hatted white boys of Kentucky's Covington Catholic High who swarmed, blocked and taunted Native American elder, activist and veteran Nathan Phillips, evidently because they could. The now-viral video shows the confrontation as two groups - the boys from an anti-abortion rally, Phillips and others from an Indigenous People's March - collided. Newer video reveals more backstory - earlier, the kids were insulted by homophobic Black Hebrew Israelites - but none of it wipes away the sight of the leering smirk on the kid facing off against Phillips, stoic as he chants and drums before the mindless crowd. Their faces, Phillips later said, reminded him of "the glee and the hatred" on the faces of lynch mobs. They also reflected the "goofy malice" that any "other" has seen when faced with the corrosive, unthinking sense of privilege behind it. These kids, it's been noted, will now return to the kind of elite white school where misogyny, homophobia and virulent racism are fostered by the same adults who bought them those MAGA hats to celebrate what is, to be clear, a hate movement. "Your kids are watching," warns a ninth-grader starting to see the light. King knew there is nothing new under the divisive sun. "This wasn't boys being boys," said one critic. "This is America being America."
Post-Charlottesville painting "My Brother's Keeper" by Haitian artist Watson Mere.
testimony "Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter."