Sunday Roast: Martin Luther King Jr Day

“Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam”

In the year before his assassination, Dr King began to express his opposition to the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War.  That opposition cost him support from his white allies, namely President Johnson, union leaders, and print publishers, such as Life and the Washington Post.  It’s all very well and good, until the Black man speaks about more than social injustice.

Dr King, like many people today, would rather have the vast amounts of money expended on a useless war, spent on the social safety net.

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

The more things change, the more they stay the same, eh?  Especially for poor Americans.  Things have changed a lot for rich Americans — they’re more obscenely wealthy than ever.

Dr King wrapped up his speech against the Vietnam War as follows:

Now it isn’t easy to stand up for truth and for justice. Sometimes it means being frustrated. When you tell the truth and take a stand, sometimes it means that you will walk the streets with a burdened heart. Sometimes it means losing a job…means being abused and scorned. It may mean having a seven, eight year old child asking a daddy, “Why do you have to go to jail so much?”…

Before the crown we wear, there is the cross that we must bear. Let us bear it — bear it for truth, bear it for justice, and bear it for peace. Let us go out this morning with that determination. And I have not lost faith. I’m not in despair, because I know that there is a moral order…

With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when all over the world we will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we’re free at last!” With this faith, we’ll sing it as we’re getting ready to sing it now. Men will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. And nations will not rise up against nations, neither shall they study war anymore. And I don’t know about you, I ain’t gonna study war no more.

Less than a year later, Dr King paid the ultimate price for speaking out, not just against the war, but all manner of social injustice — his life was ended by an assassin’s bullet.

Today, we are at a similar point in history.  Similar injustices are taking place, social and economic; one unjust war is ended, but another rages on.  Although we have come far enough in this country to have elected an African American President, we have not come so far that the vile and ugly racism hidden deep inside so many of us, socially unacceptable for decades, would be prevented from bubbling to the surface, scarring our society like acid burns.  We deal with a shocking redistribution of wealth in this country that divides us — rich vs poor — as much or more than it did 100 years ago.  That redistribution of wealth is from the middle and bottom to the top, but still the wealthy cry that they are victims of “class warfare!”

I imagine Dr King shaking his head in disgust…

This is our daily open thread — What’s on your mind?


116 thoughts on “Sunday Roast: Martin Luther King Jr Day

  1. Ooh, pRick Pervy leads off on This Week. I’m waiting for Steph to try to interview Colbert. 😀

  2. Colbert’s former Super PAC has released an ad in SC.

    “As head of Bain Capital he bought companies, carved them up, and got rid of what he couldn’t use. If Mitt Romney really believes ‘Corporation are people, my friend,’ then Mitt Romney is a serial killer.”—attack-in-b-minor-for-strings

  3. Gingrich on Face the Nation: “A re-election of Barack Obama, in this environment, with this record, would lead him to be so arrogant and so aggressive, that it’s hard to imagine what his second term would be like.”

    I thought Gingrich was the intellectual GOP-er. That’s a weaker straw-man than most blog trolls come up with. The only thing it has is, ‘fear of the unknown’.

  4. Discounting the natural projectionism from the Newtered One, this is probably why the Right is sweating live ammo and pissing barbed wire more and more each day.

  5. Oh, I think today’s sports headline should be “Tim T-boned by Patriots…Again” Yee Haa!

  6. Gingrich wants the money from superpacs to go directly to the candidates, so ‘the candidate would bear responsibility. You’d clean up about 80 % of the poison in the system if candidates had to put their name on the ads.’

  7. Robert F. Kennedy spoke in Cleveland Ohio on April 5th, 1968, the day after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered and barely two weeks after he (RFK) became a candidate for president. Ironically, Kennedy, too, was shot by an assassin precisely two months to the day after he spoke these words (excerpts):

    “This . . . is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity, my only event of today, to speak briefly to you about the mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.

    “It is not the concern of any one race. The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one–no matter where he lives or what he does–can be certain who next will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on and on in this country of ours.

    “Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by an assassin’s bullet.

    “No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason.”

    “. . . whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, whenever we do this, then the whole nation is degraded.

    “. . . Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far-off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire whatever weapons and ammunition they desire.

    “Too often we honor swagger and bluster and wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of other human beings.

    “. . . this much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.

    “For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.

    “This is the breaking of a man’s spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man among other men. And this too afflicts us all.

    “. . . When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies that he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your home, or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies, to be met not with cooperation but with conquest; to be subjugated and to be mastered.

    “We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, alien men with whom we share a city, but not a community; men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in a common effort. We learn to share only a common fear, only a common desire to retreat from each other, only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this, there are no final answers.

    “Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question is not what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of humane purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.

    “We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of others. We must admit in ourselves that our own children’s future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge.

    “Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in this land of ours. Of course we cannot vanquish it with a program, nor with a resolution.

    “But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment that they can.

    “Surely, this bond of common faith, surely this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men, and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again.”

  8. From TPM:

    Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich suggested at a Fox News forum hosted by Mike Huckabee in South Carolina on Saturday that it would be a good idea to fire federal employees for being too liberal. Federal law, on the other hand, says Gingrich’s plan would be illegal.

    “I think an intelligent conservative wants the right federal employees delivering the right services in a highly efficient way and then wants to get rid of those folks who are in fact wasteful, or those folks who are ideologically so far to the left, or those people who want to frankly dictate to the rest of us,” Gingrich said in response to a question from a federal employee at the forum (emphasis ours).

  9. I found out yesterday that one of my more-or-less-ex’s sisters has taken a one-year job in Switzerland. Lucky her, yeah, but I’m curious to see whether actually living in Europe will begin to seep through her Right-y consciousness. She’s a very intelligent person, but many of the people in that (large) family are Obama/liberal haters. What happens the first time she needs a doctor?

  10. Sampling the Reich-wing drivel around the web we see a pattern emerging. They are making a concerted effort to claim that pissing on the corpses of alleged enemies “isn’t despicable” but condemning the murder of Iranian scientists is. Considering that their efforts can only increase the animosity that some people hold towards the U.S. one is forced to conclude that they are trying to foment terrorist attacks against this country for political gain.

        • don’t think its going to stay, but then again, its only 33F here, it is supposed to get back to 20s again tonight, with more coming tomorrow. Might have to wfh tomorrow

        • He’s been out and had a lot of fun with the Usual Suspects. There are a couple of ‘Calvin-esque’ snowmen in the front now…

    • That’s pretty rare for Oregon. It’s been playing around here in Portland, trying to decide whether it’s snowing or not. It’s pretty when it’s falling and not sticking. Much too warm for any real accumulation, but there’s always tonight.

      If we get much, tomorrow will be so much fun. I will be spending my time monitoring and correcting online transit information, which will be extra fun because service on MLK is so screwy that none of our customers get it anyway. Oh, and the people staffing the phones are union personnel and have a holiday.

    • I’m still waiting for Tebow, or Drew Brees for that matter, to say that he lost because he didn’t pray hard enough and/or God just likes the other team better. This bizarre insistence that they win by God’s will should place the blame for losses at God’s feet as well but, since they are about as logical as a hairdo in a hurricane, they can’t seem to reach that logical conclusion.

      • The egos on these people! Why would an all-seeing, all-powerful god give a toss about 60 minutes of men bashing into one another? It’s not even proper football. But Tebow and Bachmann and the rest of those self-absorbed pinheads thinks they’re so important that their god has a plan for them, personally.

        They also believe in a god that is so insecure and petty that it needs constant supplication so it doesn’t get depressed and throw a nova. But, srsly, folks if you can influence your god by praying why not focus on something useful to everyone, like an end to famine and dictators and crappy beer? Instead it’s all about “me” or about making other people stop doing icky things.

  11. Did anyone else catch the Focus on the Family ad during last night’s game? It was creepy watching the little brainwashed kids, essentially, telling everyone who isn’t a Christian that they are going to Hell. It raised an interesting contrast to my upbringing. My parents decided, before i was born, that they wouldn’t introduce us kids to religion until we were old enough to understand the concept. These poor kids are already indoctrinated and face a real struggle to ever overcome said indoctrination.

      • Sadly, not enough.

        One of the greatest criticisms my family has had toward me is that I allowed the men to form and speak their own opinions from childhood, even when they were beyond silly. They didn’t go unchallenged in those opinions, but I discussed them with respect — not dismissal.

        I’d consider myself a failure as a parent if either of my men backed up a position with “someone (or some book) said so.”

    • I almost mentioned seeing that during the game. I guess it made me a little sick so I wanted to forget it as soon as the football came back on.

    • It was snowing like hell when I got back from dropping off Ralph (and picking up coffee beans) and I thought it might really turn into something. Then the sun came out (pretty pretty!) and now it’s has stopped coming down and started melting.

  12. Hee hee.

    Rick Santorum’s Iowa coalitions director, Jaime Johnson, is under fire from the Bachmann camp after the Des Moines Register revealed an email sent last summer questioning whether a woman could be president, reports the Huffington Post. Johnson wrote in an email, which he said was meant to be private: “The question then comes, ‘Is it God’s highest desire, that is, his biblically expressed will, … to have a woman rule the institutions of the family, the church, and the state?’”

    Bachmann’s campaign has asked Santorum to issue an apology; on MSNBC, Johnson said the email was being blown out of proportion.

      • It is a question I always asked (well, sorta) when women like Phyllis Schlafly were spending all their time and effort out campaigning for women to stay home where they belong.

        • She’s so damn evil death will not knock on her door.

          In the last ten or fifteen years Phyl has started saying she never advocated that women shouldn’t work outside the home – only that a constitutional amendment for equal rights was not needed!

          (spit and double spit)

  13. Shorter Rick Perry: There’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly urinate on corpses.

    • Hmmm, it’s also a Baptist church. Faux isn’t criticizing the Baptist church are they? Oh, wait. The congregation is probably Black. So, not really Baptists and not really Americans and not really Christians.

    • Damn, that is great news. I wish PA had the option to recall. All we can do is impeach. I’m looking forward to leaving this state even though I will miss the beautiful countryside.

      Alert… my old man is now lurking around the Zoo and he posted some Haiku’s on Raven’s thread. He is threatening to post music on Friday night. He now has possession of my old laptop which has me logged into The Zoo. I’ll have to log off on that computer and force him to log in with his Bluegrassbreeze name. What a sneaking little devil he is, he is…. 8)

      • My guess is he hopes for an Obama win and then tries in 2016. Mitt won’t pick another Mormon for Veep.

    • Huntsman (everything was perfect when I was the Gov. of Utah) embraced the Ryan Plan.
      The “Plan” isn’t designed to help “we the real people” –
      “we the corporate person” – yes!

      • Right, Huntsman was another corporate robot….

        …. and not to mention he was signed up to the whole ‘Angel Moroni from the planet Boloks, there’s a Mr and Mrs God, and if I am a good litle Mor(m)on I can be a god too with my own planet to control’ bullshit….

    • Lets see, Romney’s polling percentages plus Huntsman’s polling percentages equals…..Romney’s polling percentages!

  14. When I was a child I decided against politics – I realized I would likely get shot if I ran for office.

  15. Science Can Neither Explain Nor Deny the Awesomeness of This Sledding Crow

    LINK to discussion

    …I wanted to know if there was a greater significance to this video and this amazing bird. So, I called up Alan Kamil, who has been studying corvids for decades and is co-director of the Center for Avian Intelligence at the University of Nebraska..

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