David Gregory asked his panel to reflect on Martin Luther King's lesson of non-violent protest in the aftermath of the shootings in Arizona. Peggy Noonan couldn't resist trying to paint Dr. King as some lofty figure that was above the fray of talking about "small and petty things" although I'm not quite sure just what ideas she thought were too "small and petty" for Dr. King have concerned himself with. The Rev. Al Sharpton's response was a nice reminder of just what specific issues Dr. King did stand for -- issues we could use more people standing up for today.
NOONAN: I think Dr. King's manner as a leader, his lovely gravity and seriousness, and his adherence to talking about big things, not small things and petty things, was an unknown and per-- almost unnoticed contribution to his age. Lemme say quickly on education, I would be optimistic about it, too, because the biggest thing that has happened in the past year on education is the extraordinary success of two documentaries, Waiting for Superman and The Lottery.
The reaction to those films made leaders on both parties and leaders on the right and left come together in agreement that we can move forward on the schools if we do specific things. I think Obama should use it as his Nixon to China.
GREGORY: And-- and State of the Union, Arizona, education, these are big themes.
BROOKS: Yeah. And there's something we can all do. My-- I'm for a quota system. If you talk to a liberal, talk to a conservative. If you read a liberal, read a conservative. If you find yourself gettin' outta whack, correct it.
SHARPTON: I think that-- we must use Dr. King's message of non-violence, yes. But also remember, he had concrete goals. He used those methods to get specific civil rights bills, specific voting rights act. So I think we can't just operate 40,000 feet in the air. We have to think high and then come to concrete resolutions. Education, protecting of the unemployed, we got to be concrete. Otherwise, Dr. King would have just been a dreamer. He was more than that. He changed reality.
GREGORY: And we'll making that the last word. Thank you all very much.