Op-ed submission by Project 21
At a recent press conference sponsored by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Walter Fauntroy blasted Glenn Beck’s August 28 “Restoring Honor” rally by saying that when one refers to the Ku Klux Klan and the tea party movement, “you have to use [the terms] interchangeably.”
He continued, “conservatives of this country have declared war on that civil rights movement of the ’60s that brought together a coalition of conscience of people of every race, creed and color for a march on jobs and freedom.”
First of all, Fauntroy should acquaint himself with factual history. A former Democratic congressional delegate from the District of Columbia, he should remember that members of his political party founded the Ku Klux Klan. Secondly, as long as he and liberal Democrats are offended that Beck would have his rally on the same date and venue as Dr. King’s 1963 March on Washington, they should explore another piece of factual history.
The Ku Klux Klan was founded on Dec. 24, 1865. Shouldn’t Fauntroy, as a minister, be offended that the party he belongs to founded a terrorist hate group whose expressed purpose was to terrorize, intimidate and murder Jews, blacks, Catholics and others on the sacred eve of Christ’s birth? As a minister, which should be more offensive — Beck’s rally or that tidbit of fact?
But it’s not really about the date and venue at all. Fauntroy’s vitriol — along with the same from others — is the apoplectic, knee-jerk hysteria intended to foment discord where none exists and none was intended. I find it indefensible that his malevolent and divisive diatribes are presented by the media without contradiction or an addressing of the facts.
Specific to that point, I say it’s time for the likes of Fauntroy, Marc Morial of the National Urban League and Al Sharpton to defend their rhetoric. Over the years, I have quietly offered to debate these types. Now, I throw down the gauntlet and publicly challenge them. I will personally secure a venue to debate any one, or all of them together, pursuant to the legitimacy of their comments. After all, perhaps they have been misquoted or taken out of context. Perhaps they intended to say something else.
If not, I challenge these men to defend their remarks and publicly explain how the tea party compares to a segregationist terror group started by Democrats. I challenge Marc Morial to openly explain, in a debate format, why the Beck rally was “insulting” and a “hijacking the imagery and symbolism” of August 28 and the Lincoln Memorial.
The tea party is a joining together of persons from all political parties. It epitomizes the very thing Fauntroy readily acknowledged that the 1963 march did — it brings together people of conscience of the every race, creed and color to march for jobs and the restoration of constitutional freedoms.
It is time the civil rights establishment were called to not only explain, but stand under the microscope of public debate and demonstrate how their Erebusic rhetoric binds together the fabric of the American community.
I call upon the media to assist me in my effort. The media are quick to parrot every word these so-called civil rights leaders say that is antagonistic and divisive. In the interest of fair reporting, let them be equally quick to insist that they accept my challenge.
Let Fauntroy also explain, under the scrutiny of debate, how he can be so quick to condemn people for joining together to bring our country back to its roots while supporting those responsible for the murder of more than one-third of the present black population through abortion. Let him explain how he calls himself a minister, a reputed man of God, and can encourage people to commit murder.
Religious beliefs may allow one to focus on being a community rabble-rouser — an organizer. But, as a minister, the Word of God calls one to focus on soul-winning — spreading the Word of God and making disciples of those who will follow after Christ.
Fauntroy, Morial and Sharpton are brave attackers in the comfort of their minions, but my challenge is now on the table to see if they have the collective backbone to face me in a debate.
It’s easy to throw stones from behind a fence, but let them step up and defend themselves publicly.
After all, it’s just little ol’ me. They can’t be afraid to face me in a debate. Fauntroy and Sharpton are former presidential candidates, and Morial is certainly accustomed to making accusations from the secure confines of the National Urban League. Here is their chance to defend their convictions — in a public forum — against a lowly essayist such as myself.
C’mon, boys. Are you going to step up, or are you cowards — talking loud and saying nothing for the sake of fomenting discord?
Mychal Massie is the chairman of the black leadership network Project 21.