Target: Radio host Rush Limbaugh
Goal: Demand an apology from Limbaugh for tarnishing the legacy of the African American civil rights movement by suggesting that peaceful protestors should have been armed
The national holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. serves as a time for reflection on the strength of peaceful protest in the face of adversity. But in the wake of the recent national debate on gun control, certain media figures are using the African American civil rights movement as a negative example as to why guns should remain in the hands of civilians. The infamous conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh equated black Americans’ fight for equal rights to the present day struggle of gun owners, even going so far as to assert that civil rights protestors could have been more effective in the 1960s if they were armed. Demand an apology from Limbaugh for hijacking the legacy of the nonviolent civil rights movement to further his own pro-gun agenda.
As a leader in the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr. honored the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi by refusing to use violent tactics in the struggle against segregation. His commitment to peaceful dissent is one of the many reasons Americans honor Dr. King as a hero today. Yet Rush Limbaugh still claimed on-air that civil rights protests might have been more successful if participants had been armed and willing to fire on the police and other segregationist oppressors.
“If a lot of African-Americans back in the ’60s had guns and the legal right to use them for self-defense, you think they would have needed Selma? I don’t know. I’m just asking. If (Rep) John Lewis, who says he was beat upside the head, if John Lewis had had a gun, would he have been beat upside the head on the bridge?” said Limbaugh.
Such inflammatory rhetoric should never be used to tarnish the legacy of one of the most important fights for justice in American history. Tell Rush Limbaugh that calling for more guns is no way to honor the memory of Martin Luther King Jr.
Dear Rush Limbaugh,
We honor the memory of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. every January because his nonviolent protests helped pave the way to justice for a new generation of Americans. Why, then, would you tarnish his legacy by asserting that protesters in the African American civil rights movement should have wielded firearms?
As civil rights activist Rep. John Lewis, whom you targeted in your radio show, points out, “African Americans in the ’60s could have chosen to arm themselves, but we made a conscious decision not to. We were convinced that peace could not be achieved through violence. Violence begets violence, and we believed the only way to achieve peaceful ends was through peaceful means.”
Please, don’t stain the memory of Dr. King’s peaceful struggle for justice by calling for more violence in America. Apologize for your inflammatory remarks on the behalf of all those who still respect Dr. King’s legacy.
[Your Name Here]