MLK: What Might Have Been

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been seventy-one eighty-one years old on Friday.  Such anniversaries always make me wonder what might have happened if history had gone differently, if MLK hadn’t been assassinated on the balcony of a filthy Memphis motel in 1968.  For starters, I imagine his journey into more radical views on economic justice would’ve continued, along with his opposition to the Vietnam War.  Would he have endorsed anyone for president in 1968 or run himself?  Doubtful, I think; my guess he would’ve seen electoral politics as involving too much compromise.  In a reverse of reality, I can picture him breaking the news of RFK’s death to a shocked and saddened crowd.  I can easily see him as Enemy Number One on Nixon’s list, increasingly isolated during the 70’s and perceived as “too radical” by white liberals.  Maybe he would’ve accepted some sort of official or unofficial position in the Carter Administration?  How would he fare in the Culture Wars, beginning in the 1980’s?  Almost certainly he would have opposed Iraq Wars I & II, but how would he have viewed Bill Clinton?  Barack Obama?  Would he still be relevant today?  Still doggedly calling for economic freedom and an end to war as an instrument of foreign policy?  Or would he be seen as a relic of a bygone era?

Published in: on January 17, 2010 at 11:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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