Pence's shocking use of Martin Luther King's wordsRoundup
tags: Martin Luther King, racism, African American history, holidays, Mike Pence
Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, and author, with Kevin Kruse, of the new book "Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974."The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion at CNN.
On the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, Vice President Mike Pence shockingly invoked a line from the civil rights leader's famous "I Have a Dream" speech to build support for President Donald Trump's proposed deal on the border wall. Asking legislators to agree to Trump's proposal of spending $5.7 billion on a border wall along with a temporary extension of the DACA program(that Trump dismantled), Pence said, quoting King, on CBS' "Face the Nation," "Now is the time to make real the promises for democracy." He compared King's belief in using the legislative process to solve social problems to what the President is trying to do.
The "I Have a Dream" speech continues to resonate to this day as one of the most important symbols of a civil rights movement that was committed to ending social injustice and dismantling policies that enabled the inhumane treatment of people living in the United States and all around the globe.
The comments made by Pence -- who works at the top of an administration that promotes policies that directly contradict King's message -- fly directly in the face of Martin Luther King's legacy.
It does so because this is an administration that right now is holding the government hostage -- leaving civil servants without paychecks and citizens without full benefits -- in exchange for a monument made of brick and mortar or steel that most experts agree won't do much to enhance border security. Not to mention that, under this administration, thousands of parents have been separated from their children at the border.
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