Wednesday, January 18, 2006
"Why did the chicken cross the road? Al Sharpton."
"We need a new black leader we can all agree upon. Who we got for leadership? Al Sharpton. Just the mention of his name brings laughter. He looks like Bookman from 'Good Times.' He's a punchline."
Not that white boy's opinion should count much here, but I've got a visionary to nominate: Wynton Marsalis. His speech Monday at Tulane University in New Orleans reaches rhetorical heights worthy of it subject: MLK Jr., whose holiday is usually tainted by political hacks delivering political speeches seemingly drafted by the same central diversity coordinator.
Marsalis reminds us why King should be remembered. Some highlights:
"I also feel a special honor in speaking on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday because it was Dr. King’s tireless activism that encouraged our modern way of relating to one another. Yes, we are here tonight empowered with the feeling that we can speak truthfully to one another. We can work together. We can rely on one another because Dr. King’s actions made his dream our reality, and this rebuilding of New Orleans gives us the perfect opportunity to see what we’re prepared to do with the legacy of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement ...
"We have a roadmap to success --- the path of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Because he didn’t settle for 'that’s just the way things are,' we don’t have to. Because he led an intelligent assault on all sorts of sanctioned corruption, we too can use our intelligence to project integrity. Because he understood that all human beings are of one race long before the discovery of the DNA strain, we can now live that reality. Because Dr. King was always about the business of making real the human grandeur outlined in the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights, we can still believe that our government can be of the people, by the people, and for the people ...
"I want you all to understand that there are forces all around you who wish to exploit division, rob you of your freedom, and tell you what to think. They are afraid of change ... some of these forces are even within you. But I’m here to tell you, when young folks are motivated to action, when they act with insight, soul and fire, they can rekindle the weary spirit of a slumbering nation. It’s time somebody woke us up."