We Need Much More Than a Memorial
We need a revolution: Cornel West
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2011 6:06 PM CDT
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is seen unveiled from scaffolding during the soft opening of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
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(Newser) – The new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall may be a milestone "in the turbulent history of race and democracy in America," but let's not kid ourselves: "King weeps from his grave," writes Cornel West in a New York Times op-ed. Despite our reverence for King, we have allowed militarism, materialism, racism, and poverty to all flourish—the four very things King battled so courageously. In short, "the age of Obama has fallen tragically short of fulfilling King’s prophetic legacy."

The recent budget deal in Washington is only the latest blow in "a 30-year, top-down, one-sided war against the poor and working people," West writes. "The absence of a King-worthy narrative" has allowed conservative populists to rail ("with credible claims") against government corruption and ("with ridiculous claims") about the benefits of tax cuts. "King’s response to our crisis can be put in one word: revolution... Like King, we need to put on our cemetery clothes and be coffin-ready for the next great democratic battle."