Few moments hold the American imagination quite like the 1963 March on Washington. In my lifetime, the Top Ten list would include JFK's assassination, the first man on the moon, Nixon's resignation, and the end of the Vietnam War. What else? The Challenger disaster? Barack Obama's election? Reagan's "tear down this wall" speech?
Like all iconic moments, people from all places on the ideological spectrum try to recapture the glory of the original moment. Of course, it can't be done. The power of the original lies in its uniqueness.
But they try.
So on August 28, the 47th anniversary of what Martin Luther King rightly called "the greatest demonstration for freedom in our nation's history," the Tea Party is rallying on the National Mall. Undoubtedly, they'll try to recreate the look and feel of the '63 rally, and match some of the rhetoric as well.
To civil rights activists, the specter of right-wingers traipsing on the hallowed grounds on the Mall on such a historic day rankles. At the recent NAACP convention, Ben Jealous attacked Tea Partiers for the racists allegedly in their ranks. And the NAACP voted to hold its own March on Washington on October 2.
October, by the way, was the month originally scheduled for the 1963 March on Washington.