July 2nd was a big day in history fifty-two years ago. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. It was an enormous moment for the Civil Rights Movement, as it outlawed segregation in public places. For the signing, the White House made a theatrical event out of it, inviting numerous leaders and figures to witness the historic moment. Among them was Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who led the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and was apart of the Big Six alongside current Congressman John Lewis.
52 years later, history remembers and America celebrates this moment for racial equality. But the Democratic Party offers a different message.
Democrats have taken a stance against due process, stating that allowing the judicial system to function is a threat to American security. This is in response to a tragic shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Since then, the party has resorted to fearmongering to scare Americans into wanting to sacrifice the Constitution.
The Democrats have made the demand that anyone appearing on a government watchlist be treated like a criminal and have their rights taken away.
The implication here is that one is guilty until proven innocent if government agents determine an American citizen is a threat. This is a position taken by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who said that Americans should have to prove they’re innocent after the government deems they are suspected of criminal behavior. Congressman John Lewis, leader of the sit-in on the House chamber floor, believes that anyone appearing on a watchlist should be deprived of their rights.
Lexington, Kentucky Mayor Jim Gray also agrees with these assessments. Mayor Gray, who is running against Senator Rand Paul for the Kentucky Senate seat, launched an overtly partisan and highly misinformed attack over the issue.
Martin Luther King Jr. was suspected of communist ties and at the height of the Cold War, this was a dangerous label to have. The conflict with the Soviet Union had a lot of tense moments, including the Cuban Missile Crisis that occurred just two years prior to the signing of the Civil Rights Act. Because of the intense fearmongering and opinions of government agents, King was placed on an FBI watchlist.
Should King have had his rights denied and been treated guilty because he was on a watchlist?
Being an important leader in a controversial era, King was subject to many death threats and even assassination attempts. Izola Curry stabbed him with a letter opener at a Harlem book signing and almost killed him. Because of these incidents, King sought a concealed carry permit so he could defend himself from those who sought to kill him.
The concealed carry permit request was denied and Martin Luther King Jr. was eventually assassinated.
As we look back at the Civil Rights Movement and the push for racial equality, one thing that the Democratic Party reminds us of today is they believe freedom is irrelevant. Congressman Lewis, Senator Feinstein, and Mayor Gray have all taken positions that imply Martin Luther King Jr. was a communist and a terrorist, because anyone who appears on a government watchlist is guilty and thus should be deprived of rights.
Is this the America that we want?