Normally conservatives are picked out as being a group consistently trying to bring back the past. But over the past few years their penchant for nostalgia has been far surpassed by the liberals who are trying to liken any event to the ‘good old days. Those days, of course, are during the civil rights movement and Vietnam, the age of flower power and Woodstock. These were important events on either side of the spectrum and should be held in remembrance for the enormity of what they meant. Unfortunately, in calling their images back into vogue and comparing every event of the day to them for attempted political gain is only cheapening and sullying what that time in our history meant.
We all have seen the constant, tireless attempts to label the Iraq war II as ‘Bush’s Vietnam’. Even though both events were wars without UN approval, that’s about all that can be said to be similar to these two events. But little by little the constant clanging of the comparison through all reaches of the opposition out onto the political landscape has deafened many people’s ears to the bad comparison. So much so that I’m afraid people forget just what an enormous event Vietnam was to those of us who grew up in its wake and the wake of Korea as well.
But now we have the Washington Post and Al Sharpton calling out the comparison bells again, this time to somehow link Rev. Sharpton’s visit to the anti-war protests in Crawford, TX to the civil rights movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr! From the lead of the article:
Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist and former presidential candidate, rallied antiwar protesters here Sunday, drawing comparisons with the civil rights movement on this anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
I understand the desire to call upon the ghosts of our past to evoke emotions and political power of the present, I’ve even seen this done on the right with comparisons of Hussain to Hitler. But we can’t continue to use this very easy tactic in political debate or we will lose all meaning for what these events MEAN TO US. The civil rights movement was so much more than what we are seeing in the anti-war protests going on right now. Yet there is an attempt to attach it to these special historic events to get people to do what they might ordinarily not.
And to me, that is the definition of a religion, to use imagery and faith to get people to act. We don’t need to be creating religious ideologues out of these events. We need to continue discussing these events civilly and with reason. But I’m afraid we have started past the point of no return in today’s political climate.