Is Martin Luther King Jr. Smiling Down on President Obama's Second Inauguration?
I have no doubt however, that Obama is very mindful of his legacy as the country's first black president, feels deeply beholden to the ancestors and the Black Freedom Struggle, and how the first draft of history will judge his tenure.
Realpolitik can be cruel in its honest truths. With few exceptions, outsiders and visionaries do not become President of the United States of America. The United States is an empire. Men like Martin Luther King Jr., leaders who are killed because they speak truth to Power, are not elected President of the United States of America.
Consequently, it is high time that folks stop using Brother King as a measuring stick for Barack Obama. They were playing very different games; therefore they should be held to very different standards of leadership. There is only one Brother Doctor King. There is only one Barack Obama. They are very different from one another. Both are first ballot hall of fame entries into The Pantheon of Black Exceptionalism and Greatness: deny that fact at your own peril. It is a far better use of one's energies to meditate on the consequences of Obama's elevation to a leading figure in the Black Freedom Struggle, than to deny if said conclusion will come to pass.
I am not suggesting moral cowardice or retreat by Obama's critics, and Progressives, especially. Rather, I would hope that President Barack Obama is judged by the standards of the office, pushed forward by his base to be like Johnson or FDR--or at the very least made to be more accountable to the people and the Common Good, than to the public opinion polls, the financiers, banksters, and his chances of reelection.
Obama is and has never been a "runaway slave." That temperament is not his way. However, President Obama is adept at playing 3 dimensional Star Trek chess. By leveraging this talent he can win a few victories for regular folks on both sides of the colorline. Incrementalism can be a virtue.
Would Dr. King approve? I am unsure. You tell me.