Chancelucky

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Honoring Dr. King's Stance on War


On Martin Luther King Day, any number of Americans will be reminiscing about his I Have a Dream speech and its vision of a nation where children are judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.  We now honor Dr. King by making certain that all photo ops now have a mixture of blacks, latinos, Asians, and women in them.  The rest of us will be watching football playoff games, hopping on multi-colored snowboards, and assuming that Dr. King’s work is somehow done because conservatives say nice things about Dr. Rice and Justice Thomas.  As we do with most “saints”, we tend to forget that Dr. King’s advocacy went beyond race.  At the end of his life, he made the very controversial decision to speak out against the War in Vietnam, link to MLK's speech about the duty to resist the War in Vietnam.  Almost exactly a year later, he was killed.

For those who don’t want to read this fine speech, I list a few excerpts below.  
“We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation”

“We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.”
I
“t is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin...we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

"True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."


One might argue that Iraq is different in many ways from Vietnam.  In particular, I’ve been reading George Friedman’s book America’s Secret War (I’ll likely review it here once I finish) that argues that fighting terrorism requires a very different approach to “war”.  It doesn’t matter to me that Martin Luther King opposed that war instead of this one.  I’ve read the President’s warnings about not aiding the terrorists by criticizing the war.  He would undoubtedly have included remarks like Dr. King’s.  Had he lived, I’m certain that any number of hard core supporters of the war would be calling Dr. King the same names they are applying to John Murtha, Howard Dean, Gold Star Mothers, and now likely Walter Cronkite.  

Dick Cheney is off the hook of course.  He opposed the creation of a holiday to honor Martin Luther King in 1979, though he later flip-flopped when the majority voted for the holiday in 1983.  I kind of agree with the vice-president.  Why have a holiday to honor Martin Luther King if we can’t honor his spirit?  

6 Comments:

At 1/16/2006 11:19:00 AM, Blogger Jude Nagurney Camwell said...

Nice post. I wanted you to know that I used a quote of yours at my blog today.

-Jude

 
At 1/16/2006 12:54:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Jude,
many thanks for coming here, looking at the site, and for citing me.
I liked your post about Dr. King as well.

 
At 1/16/2006 02:54:00 PM, Blogger benny06 said...

Nice reminders of MLK and his anti-war stance.

Hope you got to see Al Gore's entralling speech. He was on target about having our own war with those who are tearing the foundations of the principles we set up over 200 years ago.

 
At 1/16/2006 07:47:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

thanks Benny,
I didn't get to the see the Al Gore speech, but was planning to read it. Thanks for linking it on your site.

Gore used to be the "right" or at least moderate wing of the democratic party. How did things change so much that he's being depicted as radical and risky?

 
At 1/23/2006 05:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's become about PR now.. Whats PC or is good PR..They forget what it was all really about.

 
At 1/23/2006 08:43:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Ivy,
thanks for dropping by. I tend to agree. MLK was aware of the power of PR, but he was never about PR. It's like the reverse is true today and that's how they treat his legacy.

 

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