Our guest blogger is Daniella Gibbs Leger, the Vice President for Communications at American Progress Action Fund.
Today, John McCain is scheduled to speak in Memphis on the 40th Anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. To most, this probably seems like an un-extraordinary event –- a presidential candidate is paying tribute to one of our nation’s heroes.
But it is a big deal to me. McCain was against a federal holiday recognizing MLK in 1983. And while his position evolved –- he eventually came around to supporting the holiday in a 1990 Arizona referendum that failed –- it is a problem to me that he voted against it in the first place.
This happened in 1983. It wasn’t like it was the 60’s. By that time people around the world understood the significance that King had on moving our nation peacefully out of the days of segregation. But in 1983, McCain didn’t. That’s bad enough, but he also consistently sided against the interests of the African American community while in the House and Senate, including the 1990 Civil Rights Bill, affirmative action, and raising the minimum wage. And his stance on the Iraq war is completely out of tune with not just African Americans but the entire country.
McCain has an opportunity today that I doubt he’ll take. He has an opportunity to embrace the goals that King was fighting for the day he died –- the improvement of the lives of every day American workers. He can embrace an economic policy that works for all Americans, not just the wealthiest; he can embrace universal health care coverage; and he can embrace ending a war that King most certainly would have spoken out against. I am sure none of that will happen, but today –- of all days –- a girl can dream.