2018年3月21日 星期三

RCP Morning Note, 03/21/2018: Trump & Mueller; America Rising; Iraq War; Marching to Montgomery


Carl Cannon's Morning Note

Trump & Mueller; America Rising; Iraq War; Marching to Montgomery

By Carl M. Cannon on Mar 21, 2018 09:13 am

Hello, it's Wednesday, March 21, 2018 -- a snowy second day of spring here in the nation's capital. On this day in 1965, Americans took a big step toward redeeming what Martin Luther King Jr. called the "promissory note" of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Many such steps were taken in March 1965, and some of them were bloody. They were taken on the road from Selma, Alabama.

As I have done in this space previously, I'll offer an observation about that great civil rights march to Montgomery -- and the moral authority that can be provided by a clergyman and a president. First, I'd point you to RealClearPolitics' front page, which presents our poll averages, videos, breaking news stories, and aggregated opinion columns spanning the political spectrum. We also offer original material from our own reporters and contributors, including the following:

* * *

Trump's Mueller Fixation Seen as Strategic Move. Caitlin Huey-Burns reports on GOP operatives' view of the president's anger toward the investigation, which runs counter to that of many Republican lawmakers.

GOP Research Group Has Growing Role to Play. James Arkin has this look at America Rising, which is marking an anniversary but not resting on its laurels.

Iraq War Legacy, 15 Years On. Reid Smith and Danny Sjursen share insights from an RCP/Koch Institute poll on the war's impact.

Time for Driverless Safety Standards. In RealClearPolicy, Ross Marchand makes his case in light of a fatal accident involving a self-driving car.

Bayou Bridge Pipeline and the Global Energy Picture. In RealClearEnergy, Guy Caruso argues that local environmental concerns must be considered within the broader context of national energy self-sufficiency.

Seven Explorers Who Vanished. In RealClearLife, Diana Crandall spotlights the mysterious final adventures of Henry Hudson and Percy Fawcett, among others.

* * *

The March 21, 1965, march from Selma to Montgomery was actually the last of three such marches that year. Five months earlier, Martin Luther King had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and he and the leadership of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference decided to use some their movement's international currency in Alabama, where King began his ministry at Montgomery's Dexter Avenue Baptist Church a decade before.

The SCLC joined forces with another group, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, to register voters in the small city of Selma. These attempts were met with violence and intimidation -- and little success in signing up new African-American voters. When a young protester named Jimmie Lee Jackson was shot dead by police, a protest march was called for March 7. The planned destination: the state capital in Montgomery.

Now the battle lines were set. Two years earlier, Gov. George Wallace had delivered a fiery inaugural address from the portico of Alabama's state capitol on the very spot where Jefferson Davis was sworn in as president of the Confederacy. Wallace made that historical connection in his speech, which he punctuated with the now-infamous declaration: "In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!"

To this, civil rights leaders offered a profound and succinct rejoinder, "We shall overcome!"

This was more than a prayer, and more than a hymn. It was a call to action. On March 7, that call was answered by 500 brave souls, who embarked with SCLC leader Hosea Williams and SNCC leader John Lewis on the 54-mile march from Selma to the capital. But in a horrific scene captured by news cameras and broadcast to the world, the marchers were set upon after crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge by a mob armed with clubs and whips. Alabama state troopers either stood by and did nothing or participated in the attack.

"Bloody Sunday" generated national outrage, and prompted a direct challenge from John Lewis, who was severely beaten that day, to the man in the White House: "I don't see how President Johnson can send troops to Vietnam, I don't see how he can send troops to the Congo, I don't see how he can send troops to Africa, and can't send troops to Selma."

In Washington, Lyndon Baines Johnson was having similar thoughts. Meanwhile, religious leaders poured into Alabama from around the country. Two days later, Martin Luther King led a crowd four times as large on the same route. Again, they were turned back by police who had barricaded state Route 80, the road into Montgomery. Johnson had seen enough. On March 15, the president took to the airwaves to announce new voting rights legislation.

"There is no Negro problem, there is no Southern problem … there is only an American problem," LBJ told the nation. "Their cause must be our cause too -- because it is not just Negros, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome."

Six days later, on this date in American history, the marchers tried again. This time, they were escorted by U.S. Army troops and federalized members of the Alabama National Guard. They crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and continued on Route 80. A federal judge had limited the number of marchers on the highway to 300, but by the time they reached the steps of the capitol in Montgomery four days later, their ranks had swelled to 25,000.

There, only a few hundred feet from the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, the Rev. King addressed a crowd -- and a watching world.

"The end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience," King said. "And that will be a day not of the white man, not of the black man. That will be the day of man as man."

How long must they wait? King asked the audience in his famous call-and-response, still chilling 53 years later. "How long? Not long."

Carl M. Cannon
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics
@CarlCannon (Twitter)

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