Friday, April 04, 2008

MLK Jr. and the Candidates

I am sitting here watching the PBS Newshour, and have just watched the clips of speeches by John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama, each marking the 40 year anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis.

Hillary is the clear loser on message. I will never vote for John McCain because he is running on a continuation of the failed policies of Bush. But it is easy to see why people admire McCain and why the mainstream media gushes over him. He stood on the balcony in Memphis where MLK was killed 40 years ago today and admitted he was wrong about opposing a King holiday. There were audible boos, but he was there willing to say what he needed to say.

Obama was, I believe, in Indiana today where he marked the anniversary of King's death by speaking extemporaneously about the personal discipline of the non-violence movement. As usual he was comfortable, engaging, and his message was trans-partisan: the personal discipline required to move forward a social justice movement.

Hillary was in Memphis, and to be fair they only showed a clip, but she was woodenly reading from a script and the emotion seemed contrived. In the clip she talked about the need for others to pick up the ball and keep the message of King alive. True enough. But weak, weak, weak.

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