RIP MLK and Liberalism
When Liberalism's Moment Ended." It was the rare article that would prove to be transformative to me as both a human being and a liberal and helped pinpoint for me the answer to a nagging question that had been bothering me like a cat hair in the eye:
When, exactly, did liberalism die? I didn't know and wasn't even sure it could be traced back to a split second in time, to a specific number of square feet, to a singular event. I thought it could've been a slow process of attrition, some toxic creep of conservatism accumulating in size, speed and momentum like a dirty snowball across several decades. But that's not really the answer. That's not how and when liberalism died. So when was it?
45 years ago today, that's when. It ended, or began breathing its last, on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN on April 4th 1968. For good measure, the last nail in the coffin came about two months later when Bobby Kennedy's life ended in a kitchen at the Ambassador Hotel, opening the way for Richard Nixon, seven more years of Vietnam, Watergate, the privatization of the health care system and a whole host of evils too numerous to list even in a single book, let alone a blog post. So that's where and how liberalism's ignoble death occurred: At a motel balcony and a hotel kitchen. The winds of change got knocked out of our sails and we've never recovered since.
If you want a single but telling indication of how much we've lost our way since then, take a look at the trending topics on Twitter for the United States. They are, in their current order:
We truly have lost our way if we continually think of things to distract us with a single-minded commonality that can be defined as a trend according to one social networking algorithm or another. You want to know one of the reasons why I don't blog as much as I used to? Sure, my fruitless Godot-like job hunt takes up some of my time, as does my fiction writing, publishing these books that no one buys, running my household and etc. But I did all these things 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 years ago and while I was working a 40 hour work week.
I see this country's degeneration into this bread-and-circuses parody of the great, compassionate nation we once were, a nation I still remember from my own childhood and I see icons like King have been replaced in popularity and Three Penny Fame by people like Beyonce ("You're not a single lady, buddy. Oh, no, I've made him cry.").
These are our crazy obsessions. And they will literally be the death of us.