Cartoon: The GOP’s Dream Speech

This cartoon was drawn by frequent collaborator Kevin Moore.

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From a 2022 article in the Pennsylvania News-Standard:

“Critical race theory goes against everything Martin Luther King Jr. taught us, [which is] to not judge others by the color of their skin,” Kevin McCarthy, Republican minority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, tweeted in July. 

McCarthy’s point – a ludicrous one to attribute to MLK – was that he thinks “Critical Race Theory” is bad. To make his case, he alluded to MLK’s August 1963 speech at the Lincoln Memorial. More specifically, he was referring to a single sentence of that speech – the only sentence of that speech, or indeed of MLK’s entire career as an orator and writer, that any Republican seems to be familiar with.

According to McCarthy, this is “everything Martin Luther King Jr. taught us.” Which is far from true; it’s just everything that McCarthy wishes to hear.

The same article also quotes Chuck Dickerson, an NAACP member:

“A lot of people tend to focus just on the King who spoke about his dream at the March on Washington in ‘63,” Dickerson said. “They don’t know or don’t like to focus on the King who was speaking out against American imperialism and U.S. involvement in Vietnam by the time he was assassinated in ‘68.”

This is one of several cartoons I’ve done on the subject of how the GOP misuses MLK’s “I Have A Dream” speech while ignoring – or actively erasing – everything else MLK ever said and did. I don’t know why this gets under my skin, but it does, and that’s why I return to it every few years.

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I’m writing this from Ithaca, New York, where I’m visiting with family. Last night we were treated to a truly spectacular thunderstorm, with deep thooms and bright flashes that we almost never get to see in Portland, Oregon. 

Nothing makes me feel more cozy than watching a big storm while safely indoors. I was raised mostly in the Northeastern US, and although I love living in Portland, I do miss cool storms.  

That’s not relevant to the cartoon, it’s just what’s on my mind as I write this. :-)

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This cartoon has four panels, plus a tiny fifth “kicker” panel below the bottom of the cartoon.


Dr Martin Luther King Jr, dressed in a gray 1960s suit with a black tie, stands behind a podium, with an array of microphones positioned to catch his words. Behind him we can see a crowd of Black supporters listening. MLK is holding up a finger to emphasize his point.

Behind him, a white MAGA dude, wearing a polo shirt with a big green stripe, green shorts, and a red MAGA cap, is emerging out of some sort of sci-fi portal hanging in the air. The MAGA dude is holding out a hand in a “STOP!” gesture and has an urgent, wide-eyed expression.

MLK: I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by—

MAGA: STOP! Dr. King, we gotta talk!


Dr King looks a bit annoyed at the interruption, but remains courteous, speaking softly to the MAGA dude. The MAGA dude, not seeming to notice King’s annoyance, grins hugely and puts a hand on King’s shoulder.

MLK: Er… Excuse me, my friend. I’m giving a speech right now.

MAGA: I know! The 21st century GOP sent me back in a Time Machine to tell you to stop.


MLK, taken aback, turns to face the MAGA dude. The MAGA dude, still grinning hugely, explains.

MLK: Pardon me?

MAGA: The “character not skin” bit? SUPER DUPER! But you said so many things that aren’t good for us! Like reparations, and socialism, and anti-war. Be a pal and quit?


MLK is amused, clearly holding back a laugh. The MAGA dude is now the one taken aback.

MLK: So you think I’ll be silent because a white man from the future says my words are inconvenient for him?

MAGA: Uh… Yeah. Why, is that a problem?


MLK: You don’t know the first thing about me, do you?

MAGA: Nope! And I’d like to keep it that way!

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The GOP’s Dream Speech | Patreon

This entry posted in Cartooning & comics, Conservative zaniness, right-wingers, etc., Race, racism and related issues, Racism. Bookmark the permalink. 

4 Responses to Cartoon: The GOP’s Dream Speech

  1. 1
    bcb says:

    I really like that you have the Republican cut him off before he even finishes the sentence. Yeah, Republicans do like to quote the full sentence, but they absolutely do not want anyone to judge them by the content of their character. They also don’t want us to judge the leaders of the Confederacy by the content of their character, or the Founding Fathers.

  2. 2
    RonF says:

    In the early Christian church after the last Roman persecutions against Christians had ended there was a group of people called Donatists. Their particular issue was that if a priest had (under force of arms) renounced the Church they could no longer be accepted back into the Church, and that their performance of the sacraments was invalid. The Church authorities ultimately rejected this. Priests are human and will thus inevitably sin, but that does not invalidate the baptisms, masses, etc. that they perform. After all, it’s impossible to find a human who has not and will not sin, so to hold otherwise would mean you would never have priests. The value of the sacraments is intrinsic to them and is not dependent on the morals or state of grace of the person who performs them.

    I see this as analogous to the Founders (no sexism here, there were women involved too, if more behind the scenes). In their personal lives they often contradicted some of the very ideals they promulgated, and at least some of them were openly aware of it, too. That does not invalidate those ideals, it just means that the people who promulgated them were human, not saints.

    I also see this as analogous to the situation with Rev. King. He was far from perfect, and not all the things he said or did have equal validity (or even any validity at all). It’s entirely valid to hold up his statement about judging people by their character rather than their skin color as an ideal to be embraced while considering his comments about reparations and socialism as deeply flawed.

  3. 3
    Chris says:

    But Ron, this cartoon isn’t about people who consider his comments about reparations and socialism to be flawed. It’s about people who don’t want anyone to consider, or even be aware of, his comments about reparations and socialism. People who argue that MLK Jr. would never be in support of reparations or socialism.

  4. 4
    RonF says:

    It’s true that I was unaware of any statement he’d made concerning those until I heard about it on this blog.