Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Veteran Remembers Martin Luther King, Jr.

I sent the following to a number of media outlets.  If you change the word Vietnam in Dr. King's speech to Iraq or Afghanistan, the speech could be given today.
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I believe that Dr. King’s most powerful speech was on April 4 of 1967.   “Beyond Vietnam” directed our attention to the trifecta causes of the moral and financial poverty in the U. S. – militarism, materialism, and racism.   
As I look around with mature eyes I see torture being justified, drones killing civilians, assassinations being legalized, hatred for “those people”, massive gun violence, loyalty oaths to governments that engage in genocide, invasions and occupations, songs about bombing countries, war planes being cheered as they fly over sports stadiums, violence showcased on TV and movies and video games.  All of these set examples.
In the 1960’s Dr. King asked those in the cities to stop using violence to solve problems.  “They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems”.   Dr. King concluded that,  “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today—my own government”.
Yes, there are good things about America, but there are many areas of silence.  Dr. King said  “the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak”.   “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
On the only national holiday that recognizes a person who worked for peace and justice, read “Beyond Vietnam”.   Dr. King studied and practiced non-violent conflict resolution.  We, as a nation, need to do the same.   

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