At first blush, you might think that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has had a newfound appreciation for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – and all he stood for.
Rubio tweeted part of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech at 5 a.m. on Martin Luther King Day.
“When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. – Dr. Martin Luther King (1963)” – Rubio tweeted.
But before I could throw up my hands and utter “Hallelujah,” somebody discovered the lack of wisdom in Rubio’s attempt to be seen as a forthright supporter of King and his legacy.
Nikole Hannah-Jones of the New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project noted that Rubio conveniently left out the important part of King’s statements about that promissory note.
A somewhat angry phrase, and the true reason why hundreds of thousands of people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial that day in 1963.
“It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds,’” King said, but Rubio failed to add.
That omission wasn’t lost on those people who saw Rubio’s initial post on Twitter.
Some fellow named Seth McFarland (not to be confused with the entertainment guru) issued a direct rebuke.
“Shut! Don’t say his name. Do not say his name, while you remove it from history books. Do not say his name, while you strike down voting rights. Do not say his name, while you destroy all he achieved,” McFarland posted in a graphic.
Rubio’s hypocrisy isn’t the worst in Congress.
Many Republicans failed to make any note of the day.
But when you think about it, perhaps Rubio should have remained mum, too.
So should have the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire.
Somebody up there had the very bad judgment to, momentarily, butt in on the Rubio/commonsense dispute.
“Black People (not my caps, by the way) in America get special access to essential drugs, receive special federal funding due to race, and are first-in-line for every college and every job.” (And they were just getting warmed up.)
“America isn’t in debt to black people, (curiously they didn’t use caps again), if anything it’s the other way around,” they tweeted.
But bad tweets have a way of disappearing at light speed nowadays.
And so did that one.
Whoever it was, happened to “tweet the quiet part out loud” long enough to let anybody who isn’t a member of the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire wonder why there is a Libertarian Party of New Hampshire.
But, I suppose one reason it exists is to court favor with that one term, twice-impeached grump down there in Florida.
That stuff about “Black People (not my caps) in America get(ing) special access to essential drugs” may have been the outgrowth of a tall tale Donald Trump told at his recent rally in Arizona.
“The left is now rationing life-saving therapeutics based on race. Discriminating and denigrating, just denigrating white people to determine who lives and who dies,” Trump told his gullible fans.
And if that fib didn’t work, he laid it on thicker.
“If you’re white, you don’t get the vaccine. If you’re white, you don’t get therapeutics. It’s unbelievable to think this,” he told his believers, who’d eat up anything this fellow would say.
And for good measure, he added, “And nobody wants this. Black people don’t want it. White people don’t want it. Nobody wants it.”
To that, there were uproarious cheers.
He was speaking to a crowd of people who don’t seem to care much for vaccines, or other stuff that’s supposed to help people survive COVID-19.
But he’s gotten them seeing red because he’s told them there are people out there who’re taking that stuff (the stuff they don’t really want) away from them.
Edward A. Owens is a multi-Emmy Award winner, former reporter, and anchor for Entertainment Tonight, and 40-year TV news and newspaper veteran. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.