Tavis had a dream
A little over a week ago Tavis Smiley suggested that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be very upset with President Barack Obama for championing the idea of a limited missile strike against Syria as a warning against the usage of chemical weapons, which the President and his advisers are convinced the Syrian government used against its own citizens as punishment for anti-government protests. Tavis was one of many who suggested the President was a war-monger whose bloodthirsty appetites needed to be curbed. Only now it is coming to light that perhaps what Obama was doing was part of a strategy to essentially scare Syria to the table, with the prodding of Syria’s good buddy Russia. War might not be right around the corner for us after all, especially if Syria agrees with the proposal put forward by Russian President Vladimir Putin to turn over its chemical weapons to the international community.
So I’m wondering if Tavis still feels like he has also been to the mountaintop and can speak on Dr. King’s behalf. Smiley has made a conscious decision to publicly contradict President Obama every chance he gets, and his disdainful ”critiques” of the nation’s first black president have more or less made him persona non grata on most major black talk shows, which of course means he is more than welcome on shows such as “This Week” on ABC where he said:
“Just days ago we were celebrating 50 years since the March on Washington and President Obama stood where Dr. King stood 50 years ago. And we honored Martin with our words in Washington and now here we are days away from dishonoring him with our deeds in Syria.”
“There’s the issue of violence. War, Dr. King would say were he here, is not the answer. We cannot worship at the altar of retaliation,” Smiley said. “It’s either non-violent co-existence or violent co-annihilation, Dr. King would say were he here.”
Maybe King would have opposed what the President is doing, but Tavis doesn’t know nor does anyone else. The man is dead and his ghost isn’t giving interviews. Besides, what’s going on in Syria doesn’t have anything to do with Dr. King. King was a disciple of non-violence, to be sure, and he strongly opposed the Vietnam War, but Syria is the furthest thing from Vietnam and non-violence is not always an option when confronted with global conflict. And as true as it is that warriors like Dr. King made it possible for Obama to become president, there is a huge difference between being an activist and agitator from the outside versus being the President of the United States. This is in no way to belittle or denigrate the contributions of King or any other freedom fighter, but simply to point out the hypothetical opinions based on the memory of one of America’s foremost civil rights leaders is problematic at best. The choices confronting the elected political leader of the free world are dramatically different from those confronting the leader of a civil rights movement.