Attorney General Eric Holder gave a speech ostensibly honoring Martin Luther King Jr., but Holder's comments also echoed reelection themes that President Obama cites when he alludes to the civil rights leader.
"[Martin Luther King Jr.] proved that – here in America – large-scale, sweeping, righteous change is not impossible," Holder told a South Carolina audience, according to prepared remarks. "It is not too audacious," he added, in an apparent allusion to Obama's campaign theme and book title. "It is not too ambitious. And it is not the province of God alone."
Moments later, Holder praised Dr. King in terms that seemed to exhort Obama's supporters not to be disappointed in the president. "But one of the most important lessons that Dr. King left to us is that it is acceptable to be frustrated," he said. "It is fine to be impatient. And, when progress does not come quickly or fully, it is only natural to be dissatisfied. In fact, being frustrated, impatient and dissatisfied is fine – but only if those feelings compel us to take action."
President Obama took a similar tack last year when asking supporters at a Congressional Black Caucus rally to keep faith in him. "Progress often takes time . . . It’s never easy," the president said at the time. " And I never promised easy. Easy has never been promised to us. But we’ve had faith. We have had faith. We’ve had that good kind of crazy that says, you can’t stop marching."
"[T]he future rewards those who press on," Obama, after quoting from King's "Promised Land" speech, told the CBC. "I expect all of you to march with me and press on . . . Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying. We are going to press on."
Holder made a similar appeal today. "[I]n the spirit of Dr. King, let us signal to the world that – in America today – the pursuit of a more perfect union lives on, the march toward the Promised Land goes on, and the belief – not merely that we shall overcome, but that, as a nation, we will come together – continues to push us forward," he concluded.