When I lived in Georgia, I had an older friend, a great guy, from nearby to Athens (Greenville) unlike my other co-workers. He will be played by Billy Bob Thornton in the me biopic. We talked about politics a lot because he was the only person I knew who was as mad as me about the 2000 election/selection. One time, I said to him, about all the bullshit Jeb played with voters lists in Florida, “this is just like Mississippi in 1960.” I’d never seen him be anything but jovial before but when I said that he said “you fucking Yankee idiot, you have no idea what it was like down here before Civil Rights. Civil Rights changed everything in the south.”
It’s tough to talk about such an important event without sounding glib, but I’ll give it a try. I think it’s true that most white people, especially up here in the north, don’t appreciate just how enormously important the Civil Rights movement was. I also don’t think most people appreciate how clever a tactician Martin Luther King Jr. was. It wasn’t obvious that non-violence was the right strategy then, I’m not one of those who thinks non-violence is always the answer (and I agree that it’s ridiculous to think victims of state oppression and violence have no right to fight back), but there’s no question that King’s strategy worked brilliantly.
All the great oratory and great music and so on associated with the Civil Rights movement shouldn’t obscure the incredible skill that King and his allies displayed in getting so much ground-breaking legislation passed in just a few years. It didn’t have to happen that way, and it should be remembered a triumph of the mind as much as (or maybe even more than) a triumph of the spirit.
Whoa. No title.
ETA:. Now it’s there.
Major Major Major Major
@Baud: but is it a reference to anything?
Throw in the luck involved in not having a bastard like Nixon as president during the critical time. I don’t think you would have seen the CRA or VRA passed and signed.
Thank FSM you didn’t call it a triumph of the will :-)
But yes, to your major point: people forget what a good strategist King was, and what great tacticians his lieutenants were. As we rebuild our party and our movement — whatever it ends up looking like — we’d do well to study the CRM from this perspective.
Technically, that’s true. The problem is that 99% of the time people think violence is the answer to their situation get it wrong and make things worse.
With All Due Disrespect
JAN. 16, 2017
Now Mr. Lewis says that he won’t attend the inauguration of Donald Trump, whom he regards as an illegitimate president.
As you might expect, this statement provoked a hysterical, slanderous reaction from the president-elect – who, of course, got his start in national politics by repeatedly, falsely questioning President Obama’s right to hold office. But Mr. Trump — who has never sacrificed anything or taken a risk to help others — seems to have a special animus toward genuine heroes. Maybe he prefers demonstrators who don’t get beaten?
But let’s not talk about Mr. Trump’s ravings. Instead, let’s ask whether Mr. Lewis was right to say what he said. Is it O.K., morally and politically, to declare the man about to move into the White House illegitimate?
Yes, it is. In fact, it’s an act of patriotism.
By any reasonable standard, the 2016 election was deeply tainted. It wasn’t just the effects of Russian intervention on Mr. Trump’s behalf; Hillary Clinton would almost surely have won if the F.B.I. hadn’t conveyed the false impression that it had damaging new information about her, just days before the vote. This was grotesque, delegitimizing malfeasance, especially in contrast with the agency’s refusal to discuss the Russia connection.
Was there even more to it? Did the Trump campaign actively coordinate with a foreign power? Did a cabal within the F.B.I. deliberately slow-walk investigations into that possibility? Are the lurid tales about adventures in Moscow true? We don’t know, although Mr. Trump’s creepy obsequiousness to Vladimir Putin makes it hard to dismiss these allegations. Even given what we do know, however, no previous U.S. president-elect has had less right to the title. So why shouldn’t we question his legitimacy?
And talking frankly about how Mr. Trump gained power isn’t just about truth-telling. It may also help to limit that power.
It would be one thing if the incoming commander in chief showed any hint of humility, of realizing that his duty to the nation requires showing some respect for the strong majority of Americans who voted against him despite Russian meddling and the F.B.I.’s disinformation dump. But he hasn’t and won’t.
Instead, he’s lashing out at and threatening anyone and everyone who criticizes him, while refusing even to admit that he lost the popular vote. And he’s surrounding himself with people who share his contempt for everything that is best in America. What we’re looking at, all too obviously, is an American kakistocracy — rule by the worst.
The minister that confirmed me marched at Selma & did some voter registration in the early 60s. The stories he told would raise the hair on the back of your neck. I did not find out until later that his work was also part of the resistance to his being our minister. The wealthy suburban faction wanted a powerful new building out away from the city. He resisted and the racist faction were natural allies to the suburban flight faction.
Oh, and if you (any of you, not just Doug!) haven’t yet seen Hidden Figures, get you to your nearest metroplex and see it.
Go on. Scoot!
nobody but LBJ could have made those into law – NOBODY. Yes, Dr King made the plight of African Americans plain to even the most obtuse white guy and that moved the needle. But it was Johnson the bully, Johnson the horse-trader, Johnson the politician that birthed those two laws. The time was as right as it was ever going to be but without LBJ they don’t happen. Fuck Viet Nam
Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes
It helped that there was an ahistorically decent Supreme Court and a federal judiciary willing to test boundarIRS from bottom to top.
I see nothing but cowardice in the current batch, state to federal.
@rikyrah: Posted below that my rep, Steve Cohen (TN 9th) announced today he will not attend the shitshow on Friday. I plan to call his office tomorrow to send my deepest gratitude.
Paul in KY
@rikyrah: Thanks for including that, rikyrah. I don’t consider this foreign lickspittle to be legitimately elected & he’s not my president.
I’m listening to Rep. Don Beyer’s town hall (didn’t move quick enough to get in.) He’s just announced that he is also not attending the inauguration! Yeah, it’s not a big risk for him, since VA-08 is an extremely blue district, but I’m still glad to hear it.
@SiubhanDuinne: Yes, it is the most wonderful movie I’ve seen in a long time.
Dan Pfeiffer Verified account
Team Trump is basically playing healthcare madlibs, throwing out random words that add up to nothing
@Redshift: Same here with my rep, but it all matters!
My Soul is Rested is a good intro; interviews with participants from Montgomery bus boycott thru MLK assasination.
Tom Watson, Agrarian Rebel is an earlier era, Populist to 1920’s, deeply depressing.
Major Major Major Major
@rikyrah: insurance for all! Insurance for none! Insurance for some; miniature American flags for others!
They claim to love him now, but conservatives demanded President Reagan veto #MLKDAY& then it got worse.
I’m not sure how much of that was actual luck. The Nixon we got as president- as opposed to the one who ran in 1960- was largely a reaction to the success of the Civil Rights Movement in getting so much passed so quickly.
A tale told by an idiot.
Don’t overlook the fact that the electoral college screwed up a democratic vote AGAIN. By a much bigger margin this time too. This institution has to go. No chance right now, but don’t forget later.
There is some treaty between the states about when enough sign on, they go popular vote. I don’t want to be a purity pony and if it happens I won’t fight it I think but it seems too convoluted and I don’t trust it especially when we need it when our institutions are failing. I am afraid there is some way to game it and I want to know how much thought and testing went into it.
I much prefer a straight amendment law change.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
I think that by doing that they’re fucking things up for Ryan et al, so this isn’t necessarily a bad thing
the Obama Bros on their podcast said that, when you call your critters, ask when their town halls are. Scare them sumbtiches!
@SiubhanDuinne: I saw Hidden Figures last night, and Moonlight the night before that.
Moonlight was one of the best movies I have ever seen in my entire life. Just incredible.
Major Major Major Major
@Gvg: well, on the one hand you have that interstate compact which is possible, on the other hand you have amending the constitution to get rid of the EC which has no momentum behind it and will never happen in a million years, so you might want to put some energy behind the former.
O. Felix Culpa
We unfortunately saw La La Land this afternoon. Don’t. I haven’t experienced such cinematic tedium in eons. I can’t believe the Golden Globes picked that hollow trifle over Moonlight.
@Suzanne: Moonlight is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen too. Hidden Figures is next on the docket, to wash off the stale cotton candy taste of La La Land.
@Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes:
The courts gave a lot of backing to equality, back in the 1950’s and 1960’s and that has pissed off conservatives ever since.
They will do everything in their power to prevent Democrats from dominating the courts. They know how important the courts are for them to implement their agenda.
The current Republican resurgence is, in part, a result of the courts gutting campaign finance laws and the VRA.
BC in Illinois
Saw Hidden Figures last Friday, as a winter storm advisory came into St. Louis. More advisory than storm. My family was 3/8 of the audience. The movie combined great memories of the thrill of the space program with chilling memories of the nature of the times. For each of the three women featured, there were moments where the 2016 me (very white-northern) wanted to say, “Don’t take that! Speak up! Talk back!”
And the chilling reality comes back. They couldn’t. They really couldn’t.
The movie brings back how much injustice, how much anger, lies behind that word “couldn’t.”
That they made the contributions, the strides, the accomplishments that they did was–as DougJ points out–a matter of the strategy, the skill of the tactics, the triumph of mind, in the way they pushed back, the way the spoke up, the way they explained things to their children. For me, the power of the movie came in that level below the surface, where the 2016 me comes to grip with what “couldn’t” be done, even in my lifetime, in years that I remember.
It makes the impact even more powerful, when one realizes that having a Federal job with NASA was far from the worst conditions, the worst people to work for. To see how far below the tolerable even the “best” of employers could be, brings the point home with power. And makes the triumph of those women, hidden from sight, even more wonderful.
That’s not a coincidence. The Republicans, led by Karl Rove, gamed it out and planned it that way.
I can’t remember if Sandra Day O’Connor is still alive, but if she is, I hope she’s proud of what she wrought. And if she isn’t, I hope she’s in Hell getting the 24/7 Ludovico treatment of getting to watch what her vote in Bush v Gore brought us to within 15 years of her decision.
I hope she is picking out pineapples with Hitler and Nixon every day
NPR ran a segment remembering the struggle to get MLK Day into law. I’d forgotten how horrible the POS Helms was.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
I hope so, but I’m not counting on it. Trump is a total BS artist who is always on every side of nearly every issue (except for things Putin cares about), so anything he says may end up just being chaff.
@O. Felix Culpa:
My First World Problem (Oscars Edition) is that I worry that the song from La La Land is going to win over LMM’s song from Moana at the Oscars. That weird LA vs NY rivalry is still alive and well in many Oscar voters’ hearts.
@Mnemosyne: I believe she has expressed contrition over her vote. Big deal…
what we need is a Dem to win the EC while losing the popular vote. The EC will be gone before the next Presidential election. We need to be ready for that day because it is very unlikely and may not happen in our lifetime. When it does we have to rush in and make sure the GOP does not screw that up.
O. Felix Culpa
@Mnemosyne: I haven’t seen Moana yet, but one of my problems with La La Land is that the music was undistinguished. A major flaw given that the male lead was supposedly a jazz musician with standards.
Apology NOT accepted. We have to live in the shit she created, shit that was obviously coming to any sentient being when she made her choice. Fuck her and her apology
@Redshift: I’m glad tRump’s “everyone gets health insurance and it is going to be cheaper and better” is actually getting lots of play. Maybe it’ll be the meathook they hang him from when they realize (and even the dolts have working brains when their $ disappears) it’s b.s.
@Redshift: remember, for republican republicans, everyone can have insurance, and as long as everyone can have access, it doesn’t matter how many people don’t choose to do so by being poor and sick
@Schlemazel: yep. (‘big deal’ was sarcasm. i should’ve used an icon with it.)
Paul in KY
@Schlemazel: Y’all are so nice! I’d have them out picking the pineapples while simultaneously getting skinned. Followed by a nice pink Himalayan salt rub.
@rikyrah: Krugman has more guts than 99% of the journalists in America.
In Biloxi, Mississippi and some other communities, today is Great Americans Day, because, well, you know, they just could not bring themselves to celebrate the life of a black man, and the birthday of Robert E Lee, January 19, was MLK adjacent.
City of Biloxi, Miss., Renames MLK Day and Surely Regrets It Now
It’s also good to keep in mind that the work of Martin Luther King and others was the culmination not only of a long hard struggle, but of a long term strategic plan to take on and dismantle American Apartheid, brick by brick.
And of course, the work is still not done.
@O. Felix Culpa:
The song that the company seems to be putting its awards weight behind is “How Far I’ll Go,” but I actually prefer “We Know the Way.” Plus it would make for a fabulous TV performance.
You might try renting a sweet little Japanese film called “Our Little Sister.”
Not as serious as Moonlight, but similar in that it is a low key film that builds on our understanding of the characters by the selection of key incidents that slowly sneak up on you and give you a sense of who a character is, and how other characters in the film relate to the main characters.
Saw Moonlight yesterday. From the pre-movie chatter and some faces I had seen before, I got the idea that people in the community are trying to catch up on the major award nominated movies.
I liked how a couple of the actors in Moonlight also appear in Hidden Figures, playing very different characters.
And although I don’t want to overpraise Moonlight, I also think it is one of the best films of the year. I find it interesting how many critics like the film, and how diverse they are. Some seem almost surprised that they were so moved by the film, which is really a kind of cinematic poetry.
Some cynics who had not seen the film tried to dismiss it as black misery porn, because it is about a poor black child whose mother is a crack addict. But this is simply background to the story, which unfolds in unexpected ways. Other cynics, eager to categorize a film in order to dismiss it, deride it as a gay film. But a straight Asian woman who does a film podcast has seen the film three times, because she fell in love with the characters and their lives and interactions with each other.
If the movie is screening in your city or near you, give it a shot. There are some indie films that are overhyped or are good and worth seeing. Moonlight is all that, and also tugs at your heart.
@O. Felix Culpa: I was utterly shocked that Moana didn’t win for best song. The music is extraordinary; actually, while I’m super biased (my two-year-old loves it and she looks a LOT more like Little Moana than like any previous Disney heroine) the film is just some of the best stuff Disney Studios has ever done. And the music is richly sourced from some deep Polynesian traditions. It’s like Graceland losing the Grammy to some random 1987 Richard Marx track.
@O. Felix Culpa: La La Land bored me. I thought it was fine. Average. Mediocre.
Hidden Figures was really, really enjoyable. And Moonlight was seriously a masterpiece.
@Mnemosyne: Our favorite song from Moana is “Shiny”.
Paul in KY
@Brachiator: I lived in Biloxi for 8 months (training at Keesler AFB) & while I was politely received by the local community (black & white), I noted in that article in mentioned the Beach Wade-In Protests that were horribly suppressed & that the local beaches weren’t integrated till 1968.
Well, the black citizens only had 1 year till a tragedy called Hurricane Camille happened & basically destroyed the beaches. When I was there in 1982, you were advised to be careful if wading, due to all the debris still out there & the beaches looked depressing (IMO). Very sad for all, but especially the black locals, as the beaches were supposed to be very nice pre-Camille.
The Golden Globes seems to be weird about music. They gave their Best Song award to a U2 song the year that “Let It Go” from Frozen was nominated. Even Bono seemed shocked that they won over an insta-hit like “Let It Go.”
It’s hard to pick a favorite! “You’re Welcome” still makes me laugh every single time I listen to it.
Question: Is La La Land worth watching at the theater.
Thurgood Marshall set up a lot of stuff with legal cases in the 1950s. My mom went to UT in Austin and was engaged to a guy in the law school. Marshall got the first black student admitted and my mom’s fiance and a couple of other guys would walk him to class and the library to avoid thuggishness by the good old boys. The poor guy only lasted a year, but he got that first foot in the door.
FYI – Hidden Figures is #1 at the box office again and beat the combined grosses of the new Scorsese and the new Affleck flicks. I haven’t seen it yet, it will probably be playing at my local neighborhood indie cinema for at least six months. It’s that kind of joint.
O. Felix Culpa
@schrodingers_cat: No. Not in the theater. Not in the house. Not in a box. Not with a fox. I would not watch it here or there. I would not watch La La Land anywhere.
@debbie: Hobby Lobbys are closed for the day for the holiday. Robert E. Lee Day, not MLK. Just so you always remember how racist those scumbags are.
There’s a lot of crabby pushback against the film, but it is worth seeing in the theater. Not the greatest musical ever, but Ryan Gosling is actually pretty good, and Emma Stone just flat out sparkles. The colors are bold and a lot of the dancing is shot full on with long shots instead of stupid choppy editing that actually detracts from the dancers’ bodies.
I am not a big musical fan, but the movie won me over. I also liked a lot of the locations chosen, but I live in Southern California and I could see how they fit together in a fantasy view of the city.
This is from the farmer that I purchase items from, and pick up milk for my son from. I’ve mentioned him before.
Yup, I live in the south and some people get it.
Haven’t seen Moonlight yet, but it is most decidedly on my list. I’m also having a fine old time with all the TCM classics being shown in the cinema recently. Saw The King and I a couple of months ago, Carousel last week, and going to see Singin’ in the Rain this Wednesday. Lots more coming up in the next several months.
@Redshift: Beyer’s my rep, too. Just saw on twitter he’s not attending. What a welcome change from the idiot rep I had in Texas.
Today is LMM’s birthday, I believe.
Happy birthday, LMM!!
I tell my kids that I grew up in a place that had separate bathrooms, schools, drinking fountains and beaches for black people. There were cross burnings, and the full panoply of legal oppressions. That has left a pernicious legacy throughout this country that is largely hidden from folks that live in exclusively white areas and. to our shame, is still celebrated by some Southerners.
We need to pay attention, we need to learn and understand these things, especially on this day. Instead we any excuse at all to talk and think about something else.
MLK Day should be a day of remembrance and celebration for all the people of this country. Instead, we let a crude narcissist distract us.
I think you’d especially love it, the clothes great.
@Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: Yes! The Warren Court had some legal titans. I studied those cases at Berkeley- really thrilling.
O. Felix Culpa
I certainly felt crabby after wasting my time on that banal piece of work. I didn’t expect high entertainment, but I expected…entertainment I actually enjoy (most) musicals. La La Land had some amusing moments, but not enough to justify the long stretches of tedium in between. I thought the Coen brothers’ Hail Caesar did a much better job as a paean to L.A. and Hollywood. YMMV..
@Mary G: Yes to Thurgood Marshall along with Bayard Ruston and A. Philip Randall. Extremely savvy, strategic litigators who selected strong cases to use the law as it existed to change the law and seek equal justice.
Paul in KY
@Mary G: That young man was alot braver than I. I hope he’s had a good life.
@O. Felix Culpa:
The music could have been better, but it was still great.
Which is interesting, because those exclusively (or predominantly) white areas are themselves a legacy of discrimination. After the Civil War, blacks moved almost everywhere in the country- to big cities and small towns in every state. It wasn’t until decades later they were forced out of a lot of those place by custom, law, and often violence. Essentially any city of any size in the US that is close to 100% white got that way by deliberately forcing minorities out or by keeping them out. It’s very interesting to look up the history of your own city of town to see if it has that kind of racist past.
O. Felix Culpa
@Doug!: Clearly opinions differ. :) I just don’t remember ever being so irritated and bored by a film before. Ms. O felt the same. We debated leaving early and decided to stay in hopes it would get better. It did, a little. I was actually looking forward to the movie, given the high praise it had received, but frankly, I hated it.
We progressives have suffered several terrible bad breaks since 1968 that were inflection points radically altering American history:
1) RF Kennedy assassination in 1968 – RFK would have likely defeated Nixon, and for one thing we’d have not had the shift to a more conservative SCOTUS which began with Nixon’s appointment of e.g. Rehnquist.
2) Jimmy Carter’s narrow win over Gerald Ford in 1975 – this one is bitterly ironic, because the economic ingredients which would inevitably worsen into stagflation were already baked into the cake for whomever held the office 1976-1980, and the Iranian Revolution and hostage-taking would have likely blindsided Ford as much as it did Carter. The net result would have been that the counterrevolution in 1980 would have likely been a progressive electoral landslide, with Ted Kennedy becoming a transformative president instead of Reagan (and we’d have achieved some sort of path toward universal health care by the end of the 1980s).
3) Gore v Bush 2000 – even with Jeb Bush and Fla SoS Kathleen Harris purging and manipulating the voter rolls, if Gore had simply trusted Clinton to campaign for him in Florida and drive out 20-30K more votes, he’d have won. Even had 9/11 happened anyway, our reaction to it would have been much smarter, and there would have been no expensive misadventure in Iraq.
4) Trump v Clinton 2016 – Le Sigh, you know the story with that one.
Mike in NC
Wife went to see La La Land with some of her golf pals and she didn’t care for it at all.
Davis X. Machina
Not just in the South… biggest change in American national politics since the demise of the Whigs.
Hmm. Amtrak seems to imply that I’ll be able to take the Anaheim bus for free once I get there on Friday. The ART (Anaheim Resort Transportation) website doesn’t seem to agree, but they also don’t seem to have updated their website in a couple of years, while Amtrak’s Surfliner website seems to be up to date.
O. Felix Culpa
Nice analysis. The hard part is that we don’t know yet how this particularly story will end. I’ve decided I don’t like experiencing negative inflection point history in real time.
Greenville nearby to Athens?
Doug, thanks for reminding us all of how remarkable the Civil Rights Movement was and it’s participants. As a northerner who became aware of the horridness of the South in the 1950s (due in part to Life and Look’s coverage and in part to the various color lines in the North), I was just a little too young to do much more than speak up in junior high and high school. If folks younger than I want a reminder, I recommend both the PBS docs, Freedom Riders and Freedom Summer. Imagine that the governor of Alabama, after the turn of the century, could still speak unapologetically about his role in attacking the buses. (Just as morally bankrupt as Trump). Always the appeal to the letter of unjust laws.
From Taylor Branch’s biography of MLK…
J R in WV
When I was on a ship in for overhaul in Pascagoula, MS, Biloxi was a shithole, and no doubt, still is. Pascagoula also, too.
I’m sure there are good communities somewhere in MS, but I have never been to one to know it.
J R in WV
@Paul in KY:
I was in Pascagoula for most of 1972, Mobile Bay before that. We drove from Pacagoula to New Orleans once, and driving west along the coast, there were still big ships lying in the woods on our right, hundreds of yards from the coast on our left, driven ashore by Hurricane Camille. And the coast was still a mess.
And when we were there racism was still rampant. Unbelievable. I suppose it was worse 10 and 20 years before, but it was still just the way (WHITE) people were. I’ve mentioned it before. I don’t know how my black shipmates from Newark and NYC and the West Coast tolerated it.
Dr. King gives credit where due:
Paul in KY
@J R in WV: I think they are gone now, but in 1982 every 1/4 mile or so would be a huge pipe jutting out from under highway & sticking out onto the beach. Think it was for storm drainage, but it had the look of a giant sewer pipe.
All colors were fine with me when I was there, but I thought the black people there were the nicest (to this 22 year old 2nd lieutenant, whiteywhite guy). Would not be my place to live, black or white.