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Barack Obama Is Not Martin Luther King

I’m glad Barack Obama will be sworn in as our President tomorrow.

However, today, Martin Luther King Day, we should recall that Barack Obama is not Martin Luther King.

Martin Luther King was a radical who, if alive today, would be happy to see a black American serving as President. However, I believe Reverend King would remain on the street side of the fence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Reverend King would be protesting for our cities, for economic justice, and for the still unmet dream of racial justice for all Americans. He would not let up because a black man was President no more than he let up when the domestic liberal Lyndon Johnson was President. 

We can’t forget that Mr. Obama is a politician. For whatever else he may be, he is a politician representing one of the two mainstream political parties.  I’m hopeful that Mr. Obama is a decent man and will be a competent President. But he will not take the risks of rushing far ahead of mainstream opinion and standing alone, if need be, as Martin Luther King often did.

Mr. Obama’s job as President is very different from the work Martin Luther King was called to do.

There is a place for both a Martin Luther King and a Barack Obama. For both the outsider and the insider. Mr. Obama is very clever in talking about grass roots and a movement on the one hand, while talking the language of full inclusion on the other hand. He seeks to be both the outsider and insider at one time.

It doesn’t work that way.  

The so-called “system” has things to offer. It is only government that can, among many other things, provide universal health care, benefits for the unemployed, and offer the resources to fix our roads and bridges. It is hopeful that our government in Washington now seems to be in the hands of people who are willing to use it for these ends.    

Yet the system always needs a push. This is the work of the outsider.

In one sense tomorrow we start a new era. We have a new President with new priorities and new goals. Yet the world will not magically change tomorrow at noon. The never ending work of justice and peace will remain to be completed.     

(Please click here for a Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List. It is the best of its kind on the web.)

January 19, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama, Martin & Malcolm, Politics | , , , , | 6 Comments

44 Is The Number Of Some Big Sluggers, But Obama Likes Pitching Best

Barack Obama is President # 44. That number is going to be on the license plate for his limo.  In baseball the number 44 is associated with some big sluggers. However, as I’ve written before, Obama is a fan of pitching over hitting. When Mr. Obama speaks to Chicago White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams, he always asks about pitching first.

This makes sense. Success in politics, and in life, is a series of small steps that lead to the larger payoff. Home runs are great, but it is keeping the other guy from scoring and remaining in command of the situation that will leads to victory.  

Which sluggers have worn number 44? Glad you asked.

There is Willie McCovey. Seen below playing first base.

Reggie Jackson. Seen below after his playing days.

 

And Hank Aaron. Not seen below at all.

McCovey, Jackson, and Aaron were all very successful. But I hope our current number 44 sticks with what got him where he is today. Just working it one methodical pitch after the other until the goal is reached.

January 19, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama, Politics | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If Only Our Own Defenses Against The Storms Of Life Could Be Fixed With Some Sand And A Few Dollars

The Houston Chronicle reports that the Galveston Seawall is at risk of collapse after all the years of storms and after the more recent battering of Hurricane Ike. (Above–Seawall protecting Galveston from a hurricane in 1909. Here is some information about that storm. It was the first big test for the Seawall after the famous 1900 storm )

From today’s Chronicle article— “For a century, this vulnerable barrier island’s famed Seawall has protected, comforted, enabled and endured. But the hopelessly romantic notion that the Seawall could stand tall forever, holding back storm surges while preserving Galveston as a place apart, disappeared with Hurricane Ike. The September storm threatened the wall by exposing the wooden pilings that support its older sections, state and local officials said. Ike left so little sand to shield the Seawall’s base that the underpinnings could corrode or wash away, causing the 17-foot-high concrete structure to collapse. The danger has prompted a multimillion-dollar effort to replenish the beach in front of the Seawall before the next hurricane season. “We wouldn’t be spending millions of dollars if we weren’t really concerned about the wall,” said Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who is responsible for the state’s coastline. “We want it to be there another 100 years. The effort requires more than 400,000 cubic yards of sand from nearby land to be dumped along the Seawall to create a 70-foot beach from 10th Street to 61st — a strip that fronts several hotels and restaurants.

This is indeed a dire report. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if our own internal defenses from the batterings  life offers could be restored with some sand and a few dollars? You’d be worn down from life, but have the knowledge that it could be fixed and you’d be back up and running. 

We all have our internal reserves, and for many of us they are quite strong and resilient. We also have people in our lives who help us out. There are beliefs we can call upon.  

Still, it would be good to know that when we simply run out of steam, that there was a fix such as the plan to secure the Seawall after over 100 years of hard work protecting Galveston. 

Here is some good information about the Seawall.

January 19, 2009 Posted by | Galveston, Texas | , , , , , | Leave a comment