Obama draws pointed distinction between MLK and violent protesters waving ‘traitorous flags’

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Stuti Mishra
·2 min read
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<p>File image: Barack Obama posts photo in front of MLK statue as he asks Americans to live out his values</p> (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

File image: Barack Obama posts photo in front of MLK statue as he asks Americans to live out his values

(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Former president Barack Obama drew a distinction between the Capitol rioters waving the “traitorous” Confederate Flag and Martin Luther King Jr, as he urged Americans to be true to his values on the birthday of the slain civil rights leader.

“If anyone had a right to question whether our democracy was worth redeeming, it was Dr Martin Luther King Jr,” Mr Obama wrote on Monday, sharing a picture of himself standing near King’s monument in Washington, DC. “Because in the face of billy clubs and lynchings, poll taxes and literacy tests, he never gave in to violence, never waved a traitorous flag or gave up on our country.”

In another tweet he shared a link to president-elect Joe Biden’s Inaugural Committee, which hosted a national day of service on Martin Luther King Jr Day, encouraging people around the country to volunteer virtually or in socially distanced opportunities ahead of Wednesday's inauguration of the Biden-Harris administration.

“On #MLKDay, we celebrate his life but we’re also called to live out his values through service of our own,” he wrote, asking people to volunteer.

A 30-foot-tall statue of King was revealed in the Capitol mall in 2011, where Mr Obama is seen standing in the photo.

Mr Obama wrote a more detailed post on his Instagram account where he honoured King for “the seeds of his courage, his discipline, his vision, and the resilience of all who joined with him took years to bear fruit.”

He continued: “But they gave us the Civil Rights Act. The Voting Rights Act. And an American tradition of nonviolent resistance that has rung through the generations, as we saw this summer when Americans of all races echoed his example in standing up to declare that Black Lives Matter—no more but also no less.”

Mr Obama also pointed at the current challenges the country is facing, though he did not refer directly to the Capitol attack or pro-Trump protesters.

“We’re in the middle of a tough chapter for our country, but #MLKDay should serve as a reminder that we have been through tough times before—and emerged from them stronger,” he wrote.

“But only because we never stopped believing in our democracy. Only because we never stopped working to perfect it. And only because, even in the face of intimidation, discrimination, and unimaginable suffering, we never stopped dreaming of a better day—and never stopped doing the long, hard, essential work of ushering it in,” Mr Obama added.

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