On MLK Day, observed by millions of Americans on January 21, we pause to reflect on the legacy and life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Seems like it's also a day of campaigning for everything that MLK fought for the heart of equality, the end of segregation, economic and political empowerment and anti-war progress.
As the presidential caucuses and primaries continue and as the country fearfully awaits the arrival of Super Tuesday, the Democratic party leaders (Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards) prepared their speeches to deliver at several of the country's memorial services in honor of the great civil rights leader. On Sunday, Barack Obama's speech at Ebenezer Baptist in Atlanta almost sounded like a sermon as listeners awaited to hear his commentary and promises for the country's future through his potential administration. But listeners were also awaiting to hear what new comments he had for former president Bill Clinton. The media has been on a uprising trying to smite the two leaders in a war of words ever since Bill Clinton labeled his promises for the future a "fairy tale." Obama decided to counterattack Clinton while trying to do bring down his current competition for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Hilary Clinton. After a victory in both Nevada and New Hampshire, Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton are considered by most critics and news outlets to be in a very close match for victory.
It seems like Sen. Hillary Clinton has experienced a war of words from all sides of the spectrum. For being a woman and the only woman running for office and for being married to former president, Clinton is experiencing from most of her opposition a great deal of discomfort. Stll, she rises up to the challenge and proves her experience is as mightier than most realize. On Sunday, Sen. Clinton attended an observance for MLK Day at the esteemed Abyssinian Baptist Church of Harlem, pastored by Reverend Calvin O. Butts, III. A mix of boos from Obama fans and cheers from the crowd awaited her during her visit. A small but boisterous crowd declared that Clinton was there to steal the black vote, as the pastor of the mega-church announced his endorsement to Clinton. According to most polls, the Democratic party in the eyes of most black Americans sees the "Clinton vs. Obama" situation as a war on race...an issue of black vs. white.
According to Letta Tayler of Newsday.com, hecklers continued to repeat "Harlem for Obama", briefly drowning out Butts' endorsement. When Clinton passed cups of steaming coffee to the crowd on the bitterly cold day, one Obama fan shouted, "I don't want your coffee!" "HIL-lary! HIL-lary!" Clinton supporters shouted back.
Outside the church, Butts, who also is president of SUNY at Old Westbury, said his endorsement of Clinton had prompted angry phone calls from some parishioners. But, he added, "a vote for Hillary is not a vote against Barack Obama or any community, be it African-American, Latino or any other." Instead, he said, it is a vote for the candidate "who has the vision and experience to make things happen."
On MLK Day, a debate featuring the Democratic candidates and things just got ugly between Obama (whom made an announcement earlier that we should unite) and Clinton. Edwards put a little humor into the situation when he acknowledged that there were three people in the debate, not two.
The highlighted moment of the evening surrounded Obama's defense about recent comments he made about Republican ideas and Ronald Reagan. During his comments, Clinton interrupted and said she has never criticized Obama's remarks on Reagan. Obama, slyly responded, "Your husband did." She snapped back, "I'm here. He's not."
The debate, sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and CNN, took had a change of direction later on as Clinton and Edwards questioned Obama's present votes for legislation laws that would have have downfall effects and possibly bring about legal concerns. Still, a great number of African-Americans during the debate hoorayed for Obama; showing him support possibly because of Obama's skin color.
South Carolina, a state Obama ventured through last year with a gospel tour featuring Donnie McClurkin and Mary Mary, holds their primary on Saturday, Jan. 26.
As MLK Day comes to a close in 2008, we must remember that our right to vote is essentially important...not just to our race, but for the good of mankind. Let's vote for the best candidate involved...and not just because of a person's skin color, but let's vote for the best and most experienced person for the job. In the end, it's performance that is going to get us out of this mess we are in as a country.