by Emmett R Smith
[21 January 2010 — As a man of the Right, but of a more reactionary older Right, the conservative Right of title and deed, contract and Constitution — as an Old Atlantic American patriot, I mean, and not a “NeoCon” nationalist guessing as hard as he can at “postmodernity” in a childish Eternal Present and fury of digital events — I intended below to write something rather nuanced about my appreciation of Dr Martin Luther King. What emerged as perhaps inevitably must be the case was a string of incongruities. These will tell the casual reader more about my condition as a man at the end of his life and the close of a futile generation than they possibly could say about Martin Luther King. In his case, we enter upon the realm of verse and novel, and indeed revelation. The laws of Literature have their own unity, and so about the life of Dr King there is nothing I would change if I could.
His life as it was is perfect as it is.
And this is so regardless of the fact that I have (more now that I am old) also distinct differences with Dr King as to method.
It was this that I was trying to get across below, and I hope it is not necessary to say that I nonetheless do not care for the fact that he was shot. But he knew that this would happen, and he walked straight toward it. Dr King walked in the harsh white glare of faith and television and holding the perhaps petty talisman of his Nobel prize, and “ML” took sometimes short side trips into the sepia warm light of delight and pleasure among close friends. These were simply necessary. He had after all a date with a nullity holding on to a rifle with the sweaty hands such people have.
That nullity whose name I actually do not just now remember as I type this has his part of the truth. It is dangerous to write this because of the premature glamorization of death. But the truth is that annihilation is the fate of bodily life. Some cannot stand this — perhaps they are sort of constantly depressed. Given the state of late-modern (and, still, today’s) education that is probably more likely than that they have any finely minced “tragic sense of life.” In any case, on the edge of events and weighed by meaninglessness, they are magnetized in their general gloom by the fantasy of the last stand and the Alamo romance and Corregidor, Pickett’s Charge and the Chosen Reservoir and even sometimes the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. So they turn toward the worship of death as an end in itself.
Assassination is what nullity in a crappy brooding sort of bad temper does when it can’t actually manage get in on the real thing, the bona fide hopeless last stand. Dr King must have known that his cause at bottom was hopeless too in terms of the World. Nations like men after all come to their end. In the forty-two years since Dr King was killed by a hired fretful unhappy nullity, we pampered and truly untested 1946-64 Americans have been riven by the enduring unendable mutual sneering of our universally government subsidized youth, “on campus” and in Vietnam. The poisonous comedy of the George Carlins, the Rush Limbaughs and Al Frankens and, alas, even Mr Garrison Keillor so much of the time, has done its part, too, to bring us now very close unto something like the condition of the French — on May 9th, 1940.
Dr King I suppose maybe saw something like that ahead, also. A man so aware of likelihood after all sooner or later would have thought of everything – but his stand was nonetheless on the side of what Life can be rather than than what it so mercilessly often is — ERS]
Some of my friends and partners in crime will wonder why I of all people am posting a picture of this man…?
Well, he is a great American and that is a matter that stands on its own merits and has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact of ones non-agreement with virtually all of Dr King’s specific politics. That capacity, for distinguishing distinction and respecting greatness in disagreement, is what it is above all to be an American; and most of all, one must say it here, an American conservative first, last and always:
As an American conservative I am more than able to respect the memory of Dr King and, furthermore, to take great pride in acknowledging that I for one also happen to know…how to play ball!
Needless to say this last most central fact of all — about the political quality most needed today more than ever before by all real Americans — by definition does not include the legions of mis-educated products of government “schools,” rightwingers and leftwing un-producing “professionals” alike. Even more outside of the American political community (this is a matter which is far more dire, alas, at least to all real conservatives) are the truly grotesque NeoCon “true believers” in a false and illiterate “conservativism.” So much the worse for them…and, so, for us all. As matters now stand of course one simply cannot categorically vote Republican any more than Democrat because of these facts; but, at least, one can certainly honor the greatness of an American man who otherwise might well have been anyway a worthy opponent.
[Emmett R Smith
[all rights reserved & all others revert to holders
[20 January 2010]