14 Oct 2011
Highlights of history
Roland Martin: To say that the protesters are in tune with the Democrats is intellectual dishonesty
Candidates from both political parties should make their wishes come true, says Martin
Martin: The civil rights movement was not about electing candidates; this one either
Editor’s Note: Roland S. Martin is a union columnist and author of “The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House”. He is a commentator for cable network TV One and host / editor-in-chief of its Sunday morning news program, “Washington Watch with Roland Martin”.
Whenever there is an uprising among the people of this country in the form of protests and organized dissent, especially in the run-up to a presidential election in 13 months, the discussion inevitably shifts to what it will mean for one of the country’s two political parties.
No matter how hard they try to suggest that they are not partisan, the Tea Party is nothing more than a subgroup of the Republican Party. If there were a good number of Tea Party Democrats, then that would be true. But there aren’t, so it’s absurd to waste time not calling Tea Party Republicans exactly what they are: Tea Party Republicans. From day one, the movement aligned with the GOP, and that’s true today.
Yet the attempt by Fox News, Tory radio hosts and GOP presidential contenders to associate Occupy Wall Street protesters with the image of radical left-wing hippies aligned with the Democratic Party is false. , shameful and pure intellectual dishonesty.
Caring for the well-being of the nation and the depths to which the interests of big money drive the nation’s policies is not a partisan issue; it is a moral.
The GOP presidential candidate wants to belittle the discussion by suggesting that Occupy Wall Street protesters hate capitalism. I feel they despise a nation that has grown into a nation in which Fortune 500 companies and big banks run ads about America’s greatness, but work hard to destroy America by shipping jobs to the foreigner and engaging in shameful business practices that force the taxpayer to bail them out.
It’s really simple, and incredibly stupid, to examine the real anger of Occupy Wall Street as a bunch of young people with nothing to do. If we remember March 2009 when the AIG bonuses were revealed, every corner of this nation was angry with what we heard. Political ideology didn’t matter. It was seen as a question of right and wrong.
This is why the various leaders of Occupy Wall Street, no matter how local and decentralized they are, must view their efforts as not a galvanizing force to bring a party to power. Instead, it should be candidates from both political parties, as well as independents, talking about their needs and wants.
This tea party construction against Occupy Wall Street is ridiculous. From a media perspective, it’s a cheap and easy story that ultimately doesn’t tell the whole story.
As someone more passionate about studying the intricacies of the civil rights movement than memorizing the key speeches of its leaders, what was clear from day one was that it was not about doing elect a Democrat or a Republican. It was always about ensuring the full freedom and equality of African Americans who have been denied their rights as citizens.
At different times, Republicans and Democrats were allies of the civil rights movement, while at the same time some Republicans and Democrats were vocal opponents. It was not a party for civil rights leaders; it was a matter of principle.
And that’s exactly where we’re sitting today. As I listen to Occupy Wall Street protesters and watch their protest spread across the country, similar to the lunch counter sit-ins that spread like wildfire across the South in 1960, the goals and ideals strike me strangely familiar. While in the 1960s it was all about race, the civil rights front is now a class issue. It’s about the growing gap between the rich and the poor, and how the middle class is being pushed towards the poor, rather than being helped up.
This struggle is the moral dilemma that the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. has frequently discussed. If people stopped focusing on the latter part of his “I Have a Dream” speech and read everything he said during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, they would understand. that.
What if Russell Simmons, Kayne West and other celebrities had millions and showed their support for Occupy Wall Street? When Harry Belafonte, Dick Gregory, Sidney Poitier, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Peter, Paul and Mary, Charlton Heston, Mahalia Jackson and other celebrities attended the 1963 march, no one said how these people with large bank accounts were solidarity with those who did not have a bank account. When it comes to fairness, your values matter more than your tax bracket.
If unions and politicians want to stand in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, that’s a good thing. If the individuals who work or have worked on Wall Street want to show their support for the need for systemic changes in this system, more power is for them. If the self-identified Democrats and Republicans want to show their moral outrage, praise God.
Moral movements are not meant to be poisoned by politics. When they do, that’s when their legitimacy is lost. If politicians want to use their voices to support him, they should. But at no time should Occupy Wall Street aim to elect a party to local, county, state, and national offices.
The time has come for the men and women of conscience of this nation to stand up. It is vital that we have elected individuals, regardless of their party, who choose not to be in an incestuous relationship with the wealthy of this country who only fatten their profits while ignoring the plight of others.
As Dr King said: “An individual has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow limits of his individualistic concerns for the larger concerns of all mankind. ”
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of Roland S. Martin.