Today’s March on Washington, a March to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s historic civil rights speech before a segregated nation, did not disappoint. Amongst the people in attendance included Oprah, Dr. King’s sister, and Presidents Obama, Clinton, and Carter.
Notables absent from the event included the other two living presidents, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, which struck me as much as anything else today. Granted, George Sr. is frail and George Jr. is recovering from a heart operation. But the symbolism that the only two living Republican presidents remained absent from the March speaks volumes about where the Republican Party today is on critical issues like voting rights, gun control, economic policy, immigration reform, and LGBTQ rights. Perhaps that is why Republicans Cantor and Boehner turned down their invitations to speak at the event.
And it is not only the Republican Party’s absence from the March on Washington 50 years on, but the fact that so many in the Republican Party work to actively dismantle that spirit of compromise. No wonder the best line came from President Bill Clinton, who noted that there is something seriously wrong with this democracy when it is easier to purchase a gun than it is to vote.
On a day when Presidents Obama, Clinton, and Carter spoke so eloquently on how far we have come and how much farther we have to go, Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator and figurehead of the Republican Party some 150 years ago, presided over and watched silently on during today’s proceedings.
By contrast, those who symbolize the Republican Party of 2013 chose to simply be silent.
Picture credit goes to Wikipedia