Sunday, August 05, 2007

John Conyers Is No MLK (Betty, Cedric & Ty)

Last week, we shared our feelings regarding a member of Congress, John Conyers. During the pieces that addressed Conyers, we made clear our opposition to sicking the police on activists practicing civil disobedience. For reasons that only Rev. Lennox Yearwood can answer, he's decided to back away from an intial strong stand.

Regardless of what his reasons were (and we are aware that he was under attack), we stand by our statements. We don't give a damn what anyone says about us. As African-Americans, we're fully aware that at least a third of the discussions going on in our community are 'ranking' and 'scoring' and 'cracking.' You can listen to a five minute burst of flow on Aretha Franklin's weight with cracks about her eating only to hear the dee jay then play one of her records and talk about how amazing her voice is.

So if anyone thinks our Black voices will be silenced, think again.

In a supposed piece on race, we felt Yearwood was cracking . . . on Whites. Yearwood offers that Whites writing things like 'Conyers is no MLK' was "deeply disrespectful" to "many" in the community. Gee, our phones didn't ring once. Was this a national poll?

No one in our families complained, no one in our (Cedric and Betty's) churches complained when we shared print outs of that column and similar ones. Apparently a Black Bougie-Bougie got a hold of Yearwood's ear and he's confused that with actual African-Americans.

While we missed that version in Gladys and the Pips' song, we're not surprised.

Yearwood writes, "I would say to my White progressive friends that they should be careful who they condemn for not following in the steps of the late Dr. King if they themselves have not been prepared to walk in those steps and be champions of the consistent fight for social justice." Well let these two Black brothers and this Black sister say it: John Conyers is not following in the footsteps of MLK.

Let us all note our OUTRAGE that MLK is being reduced to something that can be cited (as a comparison) by only African-Americans. That notion is deplorable. We encourage everyone to use MLK as a touchstone. He does not "belong" to one segment of the people, he belongs to all and we will not stand silent while he is ghetto-ized or his status as an international hero is reduced to "Black guy who marched."

John Conyers is no MLK. Your first clue is that MLK couldn't have been elected to Congress. Even were he alive today, it wouldn't happen. That's because MLK wasn't Marty & The March the way he is Disney-fied today. He was against illegal wars. He was against imperialism. He was against injustice. Reducing him solely to race does him a HUGE disservice and that bull might fly with the mainstream media but it doesn't belong among the left.

John Conyers is no MLK. Your second clue is that he stood. He didn't cower. Not even when he was shot down. He knew that day was coming and he didn't sit around wondering how to protect himself. He was on a mission to make the world a better place. Conyers is a coward who will not stand up to Nancy Pelosi. She took impeachment "off the table." If he put it back on the table, he'd find he had too much support from the people for Pelosi to monkey around with his seniority rights to chair a committee.

John Conyers is no MLK. Your third clue is that MLK stood up even when he knew the risks. He was slammed by the press in his final years and that was due to the fact that he refused to be silent. Conyers operates by political calculations. He is a COWARD.

John Conyers is no MLK. Your fourth clue is that the powers-that-be saw MLK as a threat that needed to be cut down while Conyers, over 70-years-old, retains his seat in Congress. Cynthia McKinney may have lost her seat but she never lost her voice even when the same sort of elements that cut down MLK during his life went after McKinney. And, if you missed it, Yearwood, when Pelosi gave the orders that there would be no support for McKinney, Conyers didn't violate that rule either. She'd announced she's be speaking about the incident with the police and she WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE THE FULL SUPPORT OF THE BLACK CAUCUS. She didn't have any of their support. It was a White woman, Marcy Kaptur, one member of Congress and only one, who had the guts and convictions MLK lived by, who said, "I will stand with you, Cynthia" while her colleagues avoided McKinney like she had the plague. After Kaptur made it safe, a few others joined McKinney.

So save the speeches about how noble John Conyers is and how it's wrong to say he's not like MLK. MLK stood for what was right and Conyers has lived his Congressional life refusing to rock the boat.

As we said last week, he's old, he's tired, it's past time he gave up his seat and let some new blood in. The only disgrace has been what he has done to his own image.

-- Betty, Cedric and Ty
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