The Multnomah County Republican Party has been forced to issue a public apology after it planned to a hold a raffle to commemorate the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln. The prize? An AR-15 assault rifle (or a handgun of the winner’s choice).
The local GOP group had originally said that the event would be a chance to commemorate the memories of both men, as well as the denial of the rights they had both fought against. There was, predictably, widespread outcry following the announcement. The county party then issued a bizarrely-worded statement. The problem, they claimed, was not marking the lives of two great Americans, both of whom were gunned down, with the chance to win an assault rifle. The problem was that the rest of us had misunderstood their intent:
[box type=”shadow”]”In our enthusiasm for celebrating Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln and the U.S. Constitution, our Multnomah Republican Party issued a press release that was unfortunately easily misunderstood.”[/box]
The statement went on to claim that the chance to win a deadly assault weapon was entirely consistent with the values espoused by both Dr. King and Lincoln:
[box type=”shadow”]”Our rights to freedom in choosing our own medical care, our freedom to build businesses to enhance the lives of ourselves and our neighbors, our freedom to be free of debt, our freedom to be free of oppressive taxes and misguided regulations, and yes our freedom to defend our lives under the Second Amendment all are under attack.”[/box]
This is not just a case of gross insensistivity. It is a disgraceful attempt to re-write history. President Abraham Lincoln was indeed a believer in freedom from exploitation and oppression. He was a firm believer in free labor. He was also entirely opposed to the exploitation of workers by holders of capital. Indeed he once remarked in his State of the Union address of 1861 that labor was both prior to and independent of it, and so was superior in every way. For understandable (yet unforgivable) reasons, it is not widely taught in American schools that one of Lincoln’s biggest supporters during the Civil War was Karl Marx, and the old boy even corresponded with the president urging him on to victory so that America could cement its place as the home of free labor and abolish the evil of slavery:
“They [the working classes] consider it an earnest epoch to come that it fell to the lot of Abraham Lincoln, the single-minded son of the working class, to lead his country through the matchless struggle for the rescue of an enchained race and the reconstruction of a social world.”
As for Dr. King, his legacy is one of the most distorted in American history. Dr. King was a consistent and vocal opponent of the system of exploitation that existed under the state-capitalist system of America. Dr. King’s inner circle also contained many much-celebrated old fighters from socialist and trade union backgrounds, hence the well-documented program of surveillance he was placed under by America’s intelligence apparatus. He denounced the military-industrial complex for its perpetuation of the war of aggression that was being conducted against the people of Vietnam. More than anything else, he called for a kinder, gentler, more equal society in which all Americans would live free of exploitation and oppression.
However this is an old tactic from the GOP. Just search “Nelson Mandela” on this website and you will see how AATTP has exposed the re-writing of history the Republicans engaged in following his passing.
h/t: Opposing Views