This civic embarrassment has gone on long enough. Councilmen Williams and Benjamin have been throwing around Dr. King's legacy with shameful abandon. The councilmen have even brought in a civil [rights] leader from Washington, D.C., to pronounce Williams' vandalizing antics as being just in Dr. King's example.

Dr. King was an exemplar of civil disobedience in the tradition of Thoreau and Gandhi. He defied unjust law peacefully and was more than prepared to, and did indeed, suffer criminal prosecution to demonstrate the immorality of immoral, unjust and racist law. And that's the rub: will Williams accept the penalties that come with that mantle?

Exactly what anti-vandalism law does Councilman Williams find to be "unjust"? Isn't this about redundantly renaming a road? What public property does the councilman need the right to deface in Dr. King's name?

If this is truly about civil disobedience, however misguided, the councilman should wear those handcuffs with pride when the city finally brings the consequences of his shameful behavior to bear. But somehow I doubt he could live up to the standard of personal integrity Dr. King set.

It should be noted how well-timed and appropriate it is that Williams' behavior is now being justified from voices in Washington, D.C. After all, Councilman Williams demonstrates on a daily basis he is a leader more in the tradition of Marion Barry than Martin Luther King.

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