As usual, Glenn Youngkin says nice words about Martin Luther King, Jr., but in reality they are completely hollow, as Youngkin – right winger that he is – would have vehemently opposed nearly everything Dr. King stood for. See below for a few examples, comparing them to where Youngkin actually stands on the issues:
VOTING RIGHTS: Dr. King fought hard for – and spoke passionately about – “about the fundamental importance of the right to vote.” Dr. King “organized and led marches for blacks’ right to vote” and helped secure passage of the landmark 1965 Voting Right Act. In sharp contrast, Youngkin and his party have been relentlessly hostile to expansion of voting rights, and instead have fought to RESTRICT voting rights in a variety of ways. And, of course, the leader of Youngkin’s party – about whom Youngkin said “President Trump represents so much of why I’m running” – has viciously assaulted voting rights, free-and-fair elections, and our democracy itself. And Youngkin has never once denounced Trump for doing so. In sum, when it comes to voting rights, Youngkin is the antithesis of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in pretty much every way.
LABOR RIGHTS: Dr. King’s “support of labor may have been largely overshadowed by his civil rights activism, but it was no less significant. In 1961, King attended the AFL-CIO’s annual convention, helping to bridge civil rights for African Americans with the labor movement.” As Dr. King said at the December 1961 AFL-CIO convention, “the labor-hater and labor-baiter is virtually always a twin-headed creature spewing anti-Negro epithets from one mouth and anti-labor propaganda from the other mouth.” And as he said at the October 1965 AFL-CIO convention, “The South is labor’s other deep menace. Lower wage rates and improved transportation have magnetically attracted industry. The wide-spread, deeply-rooted Negro poverty in the South weakens the wage scale there for the white as well as the Negro. Beyond that, a low wage structure in the South becomes a heavy pressure on higher wages in the North.” Also, Dr. King “warned that enemies of racial justice were also enemies of unions” and “denounced ‘right to work’ laws as a scam.” In sharp contrast, Republicans (including Glenn Youngkin) today are virulently anti-labor, antithetical yet again to everything Dr. King believed. For instance, Youngkin stated in January 2022, “Let me be clear, I believe in the fundamental right to work. If anyone tries to bring me a bill that creates forced unionization, it will meet the business end of my veto pen.” As the WaPo’s Greg Sargent tweeted in January 2022, “Cheerful suburban dad Glenn Youngkin convinced many Virginia parents that their children were under threat of CRT indoctrination. Now Republicans in the state plan to: * cancel minimum wage hike * require voter ID * cut early voting.” So again, Youngkin is the polar opposite of Dr. King on issue after issue.
RACIAL EQUITY/ECONOMIC JUSTICE: Obviously, Dr. King was a huge champion for racial equity and justice in this country. For instance, in 1968, “King and the SCLC organized the “Poor People’s Campaign” to address issues of economic justice. King traveled the country to assemble “a multiracial army of the poor” that would march on Washington to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience at the Capitol until Congress created an “economic bill of rights” for poor Americans.” To put it mildly, the Party of Trump (of which Glenn Youngkin is a proud member) would have been a bitter enemy of those things then, and IS a bitter enemy of all those things today! For instance, check out this article about how Youngkin “takes aim at ‘equity’.” Thus, in his campaign, Youngkin “stirr[ed] the White GOP base with promises to ban ‘critical race theory’ in the classroom.” And since becoming governor, Youngkin has pushed “to eliminate race-based admissions policies at elite governor’s schools” and attempted “to totally whitewash history.” And see this article, about how “Youngkin’s revamped executive mansion tour doesn’t mention slavery.” Hell, Youngkin even “push[ed] to rename the state’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as the Office of Diversity, Opportunity and Inclusion.” And this past year, Youngkin campaigned for at least one virulent racist, Paul LePage in Maine, along with many others who are viciously hostile to everything Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for. So, needless to say, yet again Youngkin is the polar opposite of Dr. King…certainly when it comes to racial equity/justice.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a champion for environmental justice, understanding “that environmental justice was a component of achieving social justice. – including healthier living environments for underprivileged communities and universal access to clean air, water, and soil.” As Dr. King preached, “It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. … We aren’t going to have peace on Earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.” In sharp contrast, Glenn Youngkin and the Party of Trump are nasty, relentless enemies of environmental protection and environmental justice, while allying themselves closely with polluting industries – fossil fuels in particular. To date, Youngkin’s administration has been an environmental nightmare, even putting Trump’s disastrous EPA administrator (Andrew Wheeler) in charge of his administration’s energy/enviro policies. Youngkin has also worked relentlessly (and very dishonestly) to pull Virginia out of the important Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), while kowtowing to the plastic polluters, etc.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Dr. King was “supremely invested in criminal justice reform”; “He wrote and spoke about the “long and desolate night of our court injustice” and the racism that Black Americans face in the criminal justice system. He also regularly called on his fellow Americans, especially White Americans, to face these truths head on.” In stark contrast, Youngkin and the Party of Trump are hardline/”tough-on-crime” and vehemently OPPOSED to criminal justice reform, including making the system less racially inequitable. For instance, as this article explains, in his 2021 gubernatorial campaign Youngkin relentlessly “repeat[ed] the statistic that the murder rate went up 43% during McAuliffe’s tenure as governor — a claim that is technically true but misrepresentative of the overall picture, because despite the increase, Virginia was one of the safest states in the country in terms of violent crime.” And the Youngkin campaign “also attacked McAuliffe on parole, arguing that the parole board he appointed as governor to review the cases of geriatric prisoners was an example of ‘criminals-first policies’.” Youngkin also relentlessly bashed the parole board and pledged to fire its members…which he promptly did upon taking office. The bottom line is, to put it mildly, Youngkin is NOT in sync with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on criminal justice reform!
We could go on all day, but the bottom line is that Youngkin really should keep Dr. King’s name out of his mouth, because as we just reviewed, Youngkin and the Party of Trump represent the polar opposite of everything Dr. King stood for – and are the relentless opponents of achieving Dr. King’s dream for America.