Though the 1963 March On Washington was celebrated by tens of thousands of people this past weekend, there are those who aren’t quite so happy about it. Among these would conservative radio host, Laura Ingraham, not surprisingly, who spent most of her Monday show attacking and disparaging the speakers at the 50th anniversary observance on the National Mall. She also took the opportunity to “honor” the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by race-baiting about made-up crime statistics with her guest, Pat Buchanan.
Ingraham has no grasp of the original event, which was dedicated to bringing attention to civil and economic rights for African-Americans. Because she didn’t – and doesn’t – get it, she attacked the speakers at the 50th anniversary event, accusing them of co-opting the legacy of Dr. King to push a liberal agenda. Newsflash! The original event also pushed a liberal, progressive agenda. What the heck do you think civil and economic equality is? And since when do conservatives like you care about Dr. King? You’re the asshats who called him a communist!
But she saved the worst vitriol for Rep. John Lewis. At one point during the show she played an audio clip of Rep. Lewis’ speech from the anniversary celebration but, before his remarks were finished, she interrupted them with the sound of a gunshot. Have a listen…
Here’s the audio:
The use of a gunshot sound effect is callous, to say the least. With the history of the civil rights movement in America including assassinations and violence, insinuating that she would like Rep. Lewis to be shot is loathsome. Rep. Lewis has fought for civil rights since the age of 23, when he had his skull fractured on a bridge in Selma, Alabama by state police officers just for fighting for voting rights. When was the last time Ingraham ever fought for anything except her right to be offensive and self-aggrandizing?
She and Buchanan also discussed how minorities are doing just fine, now. After all, Buchanan remarked:
“… black folks excel and are hugely popular figures in everything from sports to entertainment to athletics to politics. Everywhere you go … So the progress has been enormous.”
This observation is, of course, nonsense. You can no more gauge the progress of minorities by the very richest among them than you can women. Or racist white men. One look at the rate of welfare among whites and blacks proves that: it is nearly identical to that of black and Hispanics. So, that just doesn’t fly, Patty-Patty-Buke-Buke (gold star if you get that reference).
Now, I don’t expect Laura or Pat to understand what it is about Dr. King’s speech and that noble March we are observing this week. That would take someone with a sense of empathy, something both of them sorely lack. And that’s fine – we know who they are and we know what to expect from them. But the gunshot effect was an insult too far. Ingraham needs to apologize to Rep. Lewis and, ideally, to everyone who took part in the program both last weekend and 50 years ago. But she won’t. Because she just doesn’t get it. I doubt she ever will.