I would tell them that Martin would weep. Not only has it taken 50 years for a black man to become president - even he was a target of racially motivated cartoons and ridicule. Let me repeat that, a PRESIDENTIAL candidate was a target of racially motivated cartoons and ridicule. Also, the last year that comprehensive numbers were collected, 38 million Americans live in poverty. Further, America is at war. Finally, racism is still a constant in the American landscape.
What is wrong with us?
Im not upset that a presidential candidate is drawn in caricature - politics has been that way for 200 years but the racist vitriole that was present in political cartoons even in the mainstream - was shocking. I believe Martin would turn the other cheek, and weep.
38 million Americans living in poverty - that is, a family of three living on about 14,000 a year - in the richest country in the world. Martin would try to unify the business world, social assistance and general public - but in private, he would weep.
Martin was an outspoken opponent of the Viet Nam war. He felt it was an odd hypocrisy to employ military means to kill people who oppress and kill other people. I think Martin would talk with Obama - take a moment to imagine that picture! - clench his fists, and weep.
Inequity, and I know about schools so I will use schools as the example, still exists. But the inequity isnt so closely tied to race anymore. It is still associated with race but it is more like the associative propoerty in math. Inequity exists for poor people, by percentage of the population and not numerically - there are more people of color living in poverty - therefore, Inequity in education still exists for people of color. It doesnt have to be this way, this Educational Apartheid as Jonathan Kozol calls it, but it is this way due to ineptitude, greed and ignorance. Martin would see a consistency in the number of brown students not being successful in school, he would put his head in his hands, and Martin would weep.
And yet, I believe he would espouse hope. In his autobiography, Martin said that, only when it is darkest can you see the stars shine. I look to the sky hopefully, and wait for the stars to shine.