Washington (CNSNews.com) – Even though his opponents did not show up, Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie “debated” the Rev. Al Sharpton, National Urban League CEO Mark Morial, and former D.C. congressional delegate Rev. Walter Fauntroy at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Monday.
Massie had challenged the three to debate their charges that the Tea Party is racist and that Fox News host Glenn Beck somehow “hijacked” the legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. by staging his “Restoring Honor” rally on Aug. 28, 2010.
“It is Reverend Sharpton and those like him that have hijacked the memory of Dr. King,” Massie said. “It is they who have hijacked the message and the day of Dr. King and his memory and prostituted it as currency for personal gain to promote their agenda.”
During the "debate," moderated by Richard Pollock, Washington editor for Pajamas Media, Pollock directed his questions to the empty seats reserved for no-shows Sharpton, Fauntroy, and Morial. Massie then got the chance to rebut the empty seats, as the debate went on.
“Let’s talk about the definition of hijack. Hijack is to steal basically by commandeering. To steal a car in travel. To take an airline while it is in the air by gunpoint or by physical force,” Massie said in response to Sharpton’s claim that the Tea Party somehow hijacked King’s legacy.
“I would wonder how exactly that was done August 28th of last year. I would wonder exactly what Reverend Sharpton meant when he said hijack,” Massie said. “Reverend Sharpton does not hold the mortgage or the property rights or the date rights on the date August 28th, and he doesn’t hold the mortgage or the property rights as such to the Lincoln monument” Massie said. “That belongs to America.”
On August 28, the conservative Beck held his “Restoring Honor” rally at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Before the rally, Fauntroy, a former congressman and pastor, compared the Tea Party to the Ku Klux Klan, saying the two terms could be used “interchangeably.”
Massie responded to Fauntroy’s claim: “I would ask of Reverend Fauntroy exactly which incarnation of the KKK is he referring to?”
“Is he speaking of the first – the one that was founded on December 24, 1865? Is he talking about the KKK – the second incarnation – the one that was founded in 1915? The one that was organized around virulent nativism. Or is he comparing the Tea Party to the third incarnation that was founded in 1946 that gave way to bombings, murders, lychings, looting?” Massie said.
A speaker at numerous Tea Party events, Massie acknowledged that the Tea Party movement is comprised of Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, independents, fiscal conservatives, and social liberals. “It is a mish-mash blend of Americans from all walks of life,” he said. “That’s the wonder of the Tea Party.”
Massie speculated that Fauntroy either is “being completely disingenuous, intentionally dishonest, or he is completely ignorant of the facts.”
In his closing statement, Massie addressed all three absentees, saying, “your arguments are not based on the issues, they are based on conjecture and falsehood.”
During the Q & A, Timothy F. Johnson, chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, a public policy and educational organization based in Washington, D.C., applauded Massie for holding the debate and sharply criticized Sharpton for being a minister and yet protesting an anti-abortion billboard in New York City that read, “The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.”
“One of the things that I think has been a disgrace is that -- that reverend should be taken off Al Sharpton’s name. You have never heard Al Sharpton cite the Word [of God], never,” Johnson said. “And the Bible tells us we have been bamboozled by fake prophets and preachers and teachers. And that is a fake – and we need to call it for what it is."