Monday, January 21, 2008

Martin Luther King Jr. : Conservative Revolutionary

We celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. this week.

I know some conservatives complain that the King holiday is a surrender to political correctness. I know there are allegations that in his personal and scholarly life, King was something less than a saint.

And George Washington owned slaves. A flawed man can still exhibit greatness.

King’s greatness was the way he combined tenacious social revolution with old-fashioned, conservative, American patriotism.

In his "I Have a Dream" speech, King said the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution make up a promissory note for all Americans to redeem, but the nation was defaulting on that note for citizens of color. He said: “We refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.”

He didn’t tear down America. He loved it. And he didn’t demand anything -- except a fair shot at pursuing the American Dream. I wish there were more civil rights leaders like that today.

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