At a campaign stop in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry equated the civil rights movement's struggle for freedom to the Republican platform for low taxes and deregulation. Listen as Perry uses a reporter's question about an historic sit-in in the town to launch into right-wing talking points:
Reporter: And coming to the Old Town Bistro you’re actually visiting a very important place in Rock Hill and the nation’s civil rights history. This year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Friendship Nine sit-in here. Care to comment on that?
Perry: Listen, America’s gone a long way from the standpoint of civil rights and thank God we have. I mean we’ve gone from a country that made great strides in issues of civil rights. I think we all can be proud of that. And as we go forward, America needs to be about freedom. It needs to be about freedom from overtaxation, freedom from over-litigation, freedom from over-regulation. And Americans regardless of what their cultural or ethnic background is they need to know that they can come to America and you got a chance to have any dream come true because the economic climate is gonna be improved.
Perry’s vision of the country couldn’t be further from Dr. Martin Luther King’s. Before he died, King planned to participate in the Poor People’s Campaign in Washington, DC, to help the poor get jobs, health care and decent homes. Perry, who calls Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid unconstitutional Ponzi schemes, would like to further shred the social safety net. No doubt Perry also views the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, which come at the expense of the poor, as part of the struggle for freedom.