MLK Day, redux.

Last year on Martin Luther King Day I whined like an @$$hat that Glenn Greenwald had beat me to the punch by highlighting Dr. King’s under-recognized speech given April 4,1967 on the subject of the Vietnam War.  This year I was just going to post the whole speech, along with the appropriate caveats to ignore the few godbot references therein and/or insert humanist substitutions to taste — for King’s speech is profoundly humanist. Supernatural entities are not required for any point he makes, nor does invoking them enhance the speech in any meaningful way.  Still, I just watched (some of) the second inauguration of our first African-American president, and there were by far more references to capricious and inscrutable imaginary friends in that spectacle.

This year, the good Mr. Greenwald has again posted about the same King speech:

Barack Obama‘s grand inaugural ceremony will take place today on the holiday memorializing King’s birthday. Obama will always be linked in history to King because his election (and re-election) as America’s first African-American president is, standing alone, an inspiring by-product of King’s work on racial justice. But this symbolic link has another, less inspiring symbolic meaning: Obama’s policies are a manifestation of exactly the militaristic mindset which King so eloquently denounced. Obama has always been fond of invoking King’s phrase “fierce urgency of now”, yet ironically, that is lifted from this anti-war speech, one that stands as a stinging repudiation of the continuous killing and violence Obama has spent the last four years unleashing on many countries around the world (Max Blumenthal suggested that Obama’s second inaugural speech be entitled “I have a drone”).

Hahaha.  I have a drone.

On this holiday it has apparently become Palace tradition to direct readers to (a) the text of King’s April 4, 1967 speech and (b) Glenn Greenwald’s annual outstanding post regarding same.  And just so I can feel that I have at least done something today to honor his legacy, I will just repost here some pithier statements from Dr. King that I find particularly inspiring and insightful.

(Source for quotes here.)

* * *

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

* * *

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

* * *

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.

* * *

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

* * *

It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.

* * *

Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

* * *

Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.

* * *

Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.

* * *

We have indeed learned some lessons from the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  President Barack Obama is a shining testament to that.  But the president and the rest of us have ignored far too much of Dr. King’s message for far too long, to our great shame and peril.


This entry was posted in USA, war by Iris Vander Pluym. Bookmark the permalink.

About Iris Vander Pluym

Iris Vander Pluym is an artist and activist in NYC (West Village), and an unapologetic, godless, feminist lefty. Raised to believe Nice Girls™ do not discuss politics, sex or religion, it turns out those are pretty much the only topics she ever wants to talk about.

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