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A weblog about the politics and affairs of the old and glorious City of Albany, New York, USA. Articles written and disseminated from Albany's beautiful and historic South End by Daniel Van Riper. If you wish to make a response, have anything to add or would like to make an empty threat, please contact me.

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January 30, 2017

They Marched In Silence

Celebrating Dr. King In A Time Of Growing Fear

One more time the authorities led a couple of hundred marchers from the State Plaza to the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King statue and monument in my neighborhood, practically to my own doorstep. The mood was subdued, we all know why. What was noteworthy was the lack of resignation and the lack of despair among the crowd and among the politicians.

But there wasn’t much joyful celebration. The people who come out to march for Dr. King every year are patriotic Americans, and all of us have been watching in horror as a fringe minority supported by decadent greedy elites have seized control of our country... and are proceeding to destroy it. It’s hard to hold to on to hope for the future under such circumstances. But in the subdued and frightened atmosphere of the day hope was still in evidence. That, at least, is the good news.

Congressman Paul Tonko listens as Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan Speaks
Congressman Paul Tonko listens as
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan Speaks

For the first time that I can remember there was only one speech delivered at the monument after everyone assembled, by Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan. There were a load of local politicians this year, so many that the mayor declined to name them all. But all the speaking was done by the mayor, not even congressman Paul Tonko, who stood close to the mayor and lingered long after the ceremony spoke to the crowd.

It wasn’t the weather that made the speeches short, it was a fairly mild day with the temperature well above freezing thanks to Global Warming. There have been years when the temperature in Lincoln Park was cold enough to freeze your gizzard, but that didn’t stop the politicians from talking. Those years when this day was cold kept them from talking too much and for too long but it sure didn’t stop them from talking.

Standing Gazing At Dr. King While Waiting For The Marchers
Standing Gazing At Dr. King While Waiting For The Marchers

Perhaps I’m reading too much into that, but I wonder if because of the recent national electoral coup and the all too visible disintegration of our federal government the politicians present were reluctant to speak. Our elected officials know perhaps better than most of us voters what could possibly happen these next couple of years to all of us. There is too much to say right now and not enough room to say any of it, so maybe at this moment they don’t want to speak at all.

Our elected leaders must surely feel the expectations of the voters, particularly by this crowd that had come out to honor the martyred great patriot, so perhaps they were reluctant to fail to meet the expectations of their audience. It is also very possible that our elected officials can clearly see the rapidly approaching day when prominent people are persecuted and arrested for the crime of criticizing the illegitimate regime in Washington DC. Perhaps they didn’t want to go on record as having made politically incorrect statements about the brat occupying the White House or about the anti-American ruling party. I can’t say that I blame them.

The City Of Albany Cops On Horses Lead The March
The City Of Albany Cops On Horses Lead The March

For whatever reason mayor Sheehan took on the job of doing all the talking. She gave a good speech about standing up for what we believe in, and reiterated the City of Albany’s commitment to being a Sanctuary City for Americans who are being persecuted for their ethnic and religious origins by... well, she didn’t precisely name America’s enemies. The very attentive audience clapped and cheered but it was a rather unsatisfying thing to hear, and you could see that in the faces of the listeners.

Indeed the politicians standing up on the monument put on a good show of displaying themselves confidently. But again, there was something subdued about their manner this year, that maybe what they were doing had already become dangerous. It was not like other years when they casually stood around the monument grinning for the cameras, it was more like they were dutifully presenting themselves, stiff and formal as politicians do in a repressive dictatorship.

Front Line Of The March
Front Line Of The March

Otherwise the march and ceremony was much like other years. The main elements of our society were represented in the not very punishing downhill march from the State Plaza that began, as always, at the gathering point across Madison Avenue from the State Museum. This always is the aftermath of a ceremony full of boring speeches in the dark auditorium underneath The Egg, an event I’ve attended in the past but intend to avoid if I can.

As usual the elements of society were represented in the march, the politicians representing the government, the military and police, and of course the only element that really matters, The People trailing behind. There were I would guess a couple of hundred marchers, about the usual number. There was an attempt by some of them to sing We Shall Overcome, but it was weak and as the line approached the monument the march fell eerily silent. To me the silence felt disturbing.

Assembling At The Monument
Assembling At The Monument

And of course the Corporate Media was waiting at the monument, the content providers waiting inside their SUVs. Their was a fair number of them this year. I couldn’t help but wonder if they were present this time to record any political incorrectness that might offend the elite ruling party, recordings that could be used in future political purges and kangaroo trials. Hopefully that’s just me thinking dreadful thoughts.

In the past this march and ceremony in honor of Dr. King was treated as a kind of reflexive ritual, a necessary political gesture almost devoid of relevancy. Despite lingering problems and speedbumps our society seemed to be humming along the path of better opportunities and greater equality for all. Back then the mood was almost nostalgic, and the message in the politician’s speeches was mostly self-congratulatory.

Crowded On The Monument
Crowded On The Monument

In past years the State actually distributed placards on sticks for the marchers that said things like Equal Housing or End Segregation Now which were then put back into a closet off the main part of the State plaza (I’ve seen that closet!) to be used next year. But in recent years those signs disappeared as we all began to feel a growing unease at the national situation, and more people began to take the march seriously.

Now we have to wonder if there will be a ceremonial march to my neighborhood next year, will there still be a national holiday in honor of Dr. King. It’s well known how the ruling party detests Dr. King and particularly despises his message of freedom and equality for all Americans. It is also now well known that the bratty boy occupying the presidency along with his close supporters are openly racist, and that the brat in chief himself made a special point of dishonoring Dr. King on this day.

Reverend Miller Gives The Invocation, The Only Other Dignitary To Speak
Reverend Miller Gives The Invocation,
The Only Other Dignitary To Speak

There may not be a national Martin Luther King holiday next year, and there may not be too many more of these ceremonies in his honor in the City of Albany. If celebrating his life and his work in the cause of American freedom becomes too politically untenable then our State and local politicians may feel compelled to give in to the demand that it be suppressed. Honoring Dr. King during times of fear and oppression may be more than our elected officials may be willing to risk.

If this happens it will be up to us, We The People, to continue the celebration of Dr. King. As astounding as it seems, we may be facing truncheons and fire hoses and attack dogs when we march, or rather this time around tasers and MRAPS and automatic weapons. We will all have to decide how much we want to sacrifice in Dr. King’s honor, we may end up learning first hand the price that Dr. King himself paid in the cause of freedom.

In The End, Will It Be All For Nothing?
In The End, Will It Be All For Nothing?


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Posted by:Roger Green
Posted on:01/30/2017
I'm getting the (maybe optimistic?) sense that maybe they're all getting SO afraid of these guys (Steve Bannon, e.g.) that even Schumer has grown cojones, as have McCain and graham (but not Ryan or McConnell)

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