Harold Ford, Jr took over the DLC yesterday, the Democratic Party’s corporate arm. It is a nice resting place to be between Senate runs. In honor of the occasion, he gave the following MLK inspired peoration.
I HAVE A MESSIANIC DREAM
I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. Last fall, a great American, in whose megalomanic shadow you stand today, lost an election in Tennessee. This momentous decree came down and destroyed a great beacon of light and hope to millions of Tennessee Negroes who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came and ended a joyous daybreak that could have ended their long night of captivity.
100 years after reconstruction, this Negro still is not free. One Hundred years later, the life of this Negro is still sadly crippled by the loss of a Senate election and sadly crippled by the manacles of his lost seat in the House of Representatives and the chains of little power. One hundered years later, this Negro lives on a lonely island of powerlessness in the midst of a vast ocean of white political power. One hundred years later, this Negro still languises in the corners of American politics and finds himself in exile in Washington,DC. And so we’ve come today to dramatize my shameful condition as nothing more than a white man’s corporate whore.
In a sense we’ve come to the nation’s capitol to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the constitution and the Declaration of Independence, the were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men-yes, black men as well as white men-would be guaranteed the unailenable rights to life, liberty, and the shameless, demagogic pursuit of a Tennessee Senate seat.
It is obvious today that Tennessee has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as my situation is concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation to elect me to the Senate, Tennessee has given this Negro a bad check, a check that has come back marked “Harold, Call Me.”
But we refuse to believe that the bank of white corporate America is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity to fund another of my shameless, demagogic Senate Campaigns. And so we’ve come to the DLC to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of power. We’ve also come to this hallowed spot of the DLC to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promise of my overpowering ambition. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of defeat to the the sunlit path of Senatorial power. Now is the time to lift my ambition from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to lay the groundwork for another campaign for this sanctimonious and phony child of God.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. The sweltering summer of this Negro Congressman’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating of my campaign coffers. Two thousand and six is not an end but a beginning. Those who hoped that this Negro Congressman needed to blow off steam and be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual and doesn’t elect me to the Senate. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until this Negro is granted his rightful place in the Senate. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of my Inauguration emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the Halls of the Senate. In the process of gaining my rightful place we must not be afraid to be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for power by drinking from the cup of timidity. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of homophobia, corporate appeasement, and confederate nostalgia. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into principled discourse. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting our gag reflex with more focus group, poll tested crap.
The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust all confederates, for many of our confederate white brothers, as evidenced by their presence in the DLC, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with my destiny. And they have come to realize that their legitimacy is inextricably bound to my election. I cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those of you asking the devotees of my cult of personality, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as this Negro is not in the White House. Barack Obama will never make it. We can never be satisfied as long as my body, heavy with the fatigue of political travel, cannot rest in the Lincoln Bedroom. We cannot be satisfied as long as this Negro’s basic mobility is from ghetto Memphis to the House of Representatives. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “Lamar Alexander for Senate.” We cannot be satisfied as long as any Negro in Tennessee doesn’t vote for me. No, no we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and campaign cash like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come from areas where your quest to elect me left you battered by storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of my hypocrisy. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Knoxville, go back to Carthage, go back to Kingsport, go back to Gallatin, go back to Chattanooga, go back to the slums and ghettos of Nashville and Memphis, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today my friends-so even though we face the difficulties of another Senate Campaign, I still have a messianic dream. It is a messianic dream deeply rooted in demagogery.
I have a messianic dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that I, Harold Ford, Jr am the way, the truth, and the light.”
I have a messianic dream, that one day on the red hills of Tennessee the sons of former slaves and the sons of the owners of the Little Rebel Bar and Grill will be able to sit down together at the table of confederate nostalgia.
I have a messianic dream, that one day even the state of Tennessee, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice , sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis for democrats.
I have a messianic dream, that my future children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the fact that their daddy was President of the United States.
I have a messianic dream today. I have a dream that one day down in Tennessee, with its vicious Republicans, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of TennCare deception– one day in Tennessee little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and little white girls and vote for me as their Senator.
I have a messianic dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and that crooked, closeted GOP Congressman will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed when I am elected to the Senate.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our state into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to scapegoat gays together, knowing that I will be President one day.
This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning “My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let Pay Pal ring!’
And if America is to be a great nation, I must be elected. And so let Pay Pal ring with campaign cash from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let Pay Pal ring with campaign cash form the mighty mountains of New York. Let Pay Pal ring from the hightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let Pay Pal ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let Pay Pal ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that; let Pay Pal ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let Pay Pal ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let Pay Pal ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi-from every mountainside, let Pay Pal ring.
And when this happens, when we allow Pay Pal ring-when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all God’s children-black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, and Protestant Confederates-will be able to join hands and sing in the words of a new Negro spiritual: Elected at last! Elected at last! Thank God Almighty, Harold Ford,Jr. is Elected at last!”