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Thursday, April 05, 2018

The 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.- be prepared for a lot of phony speeches

Yesterday Ceremonies and other events were being held nationwide to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Of course most of us remember him as the leading figure of the civil rights struggle that lead to the end of "Jim Crow" laws, racial segregation and the guaranteed right for all people of all races to vote.

The other thing he is known for is his philosophy of non-violence.

King was a major mover and shaker in the civil rights movement, but that is not all he did. He also wrestled with such topics as poverty and ending the Vietnam War. I emphasis the last two things because politicians of all stripes will be giving speeches, today, on King and his work with the civil rights movement. They will focus on his commitment to using non-violence to accomplish his goals. Politicians today love a man of peace because conservatives are all about violence and intimidation to get what they want. Some conservatives have openly carried guns as a form of intimidation while protesting against Muslim Mosques. That happened here in Wichita in May of 2016. Then there were the heavy handed police attacks on the peaceful protests of the Occupy Movement. Oakland police used violence against some protesters back in 2012. So the idea of a group of political activist who will always reject violence is a wonderful thing for the conservatives who oppose most of what our modern protesters stand for.

As for poverty and inequality, no conservative Republican is going to champion that cause. And some Democrats are just as bad as Republicans. Today we have one of the most crass champions of the rich and their greed, as well as open hostility to those who are working poor or those living in poverty, President Donald Trump. As King once said:

"We have come a long way in our understanding of human motivation and of the blind operation of our economic system. Now we realize that dislocations in the market operation of our economy and the prevalence of discrimination thrust people into idleness and bind them in constant or frequent unemployment against their will. The poor are less often dismissed from our conscience today by being branded as inferior and incompetent. We also know that no matter how dynamically the economy develops and expands it does not eliminate all poverty."

This is not something that our Idiot 'n Chief, Trump would ever embrace. And almost all of our Kansas politicians, including our very own Representative Ron Estes would not touch the quote with a 10 foot pole. Today we have some of the nastiest-classist anti-poor leaders this country and the world have ever seen. Greed is rampant and guarded by our present day Republican Party. The country has moved very far away from the ideas and goals that King professed.
Another area sure to be disputed was King's dislike of the Vietnam War. According to The New York Times:

" Fifty years ago today — and one year to the day before his assassination — the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the most politically charged speech of his life at Riverside Church in Upper Manhattan. It was a blistering attack on the government’s conduct of the Vietnam War that, among other things, compared American tactics to those of the Nazis during World War II.
The speech drew widespread condemnation from across the political spectrum, including from this newspaper. Other civil rights leaders, who supported the war and sought to retain President Lyndon B. Johnson as a political ally, distanced themselves from Dr. King."

Today this nation is involved in wars all over the world. We occupy Iraq and Afghanistan. We are involved in wars in Yemen and Syria. This nation is addicted to war and there is almost no opposition to it at all, especially missing is anything from the Democrats. This nation hasn't been so found of war since World War II. Our culture and even our advertisements are full of pro-war messages.
So be prepared for some of the most hyped up, hypocritical and phony praise for Martin Luther King Jr. This is America, an anti-poor and pro-war nation. We have collectively ignored most of the advice from King and we are paying for it.

Pix by The Atlantic.

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