Martin Luther King deserves being the only American whose birthday is celebrated with a three day holiday, but not only as the successful US civil rights movement's leader, but even more for having been martyred confronting the American killing machine at its source, investors in military atrocities, covert violence and predatory finance.
Martin Luther King was assassinated exactly one year after condemning U.S. imperialist wars, covert violence and capitalism in a New York sermon that made bold headlines in newspapers around the world.
It is widely taken for granite that King's condemnation of imperialist war madness and the capitalist genocidal insanity of putting profit above humanity cost him his life and cost America the loss of his much 'too effective' leadership. The huge investments in the Vietnam War were threatened by the second March on Washington King was planning to connect poverty at home with the huge expenditures on the war in Vietnam - for which King held all Americans, including himself responsible.
Click on the link and read and/or listen to King's sermon that made headlines in bold print on newspapers around the world fifty-five years ago, and notice it is NOT addressed to the government but to all Americans.
(King's blistering nightmarish sermon came four years after his "I Have a Dream" speach at the March on Washington) King spoke to the people not to the government he dismissed as the greatest purveyor of violence in the world and said that progress on social and human rights issues at home was impossible as long as massive financing and human resources were being used to kill the poor overseas to maintain predatory investments. Peoples historian Howard Zinn constantly called for awakening Americans by quoting from King's world shaking New York sermon, "Beyond Vietnam" a Time to Break Silence'
Look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the country. This is a role our nation has taken, " refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that comes from the immense profits of overseas investments. This is not just."
The above quote is from Martin Luther King's sermon BEYOND VIETNAM - A TIME TO BREAK SILENCE, given in New York exactly one year to the day before King received a bullet to his brain.
King dismissed his "government as the greatest purveyor of violence in the world" and anguished that he had not spoken out earlier, holding himself as well as all Americans responsible for 'atrocity wars and covert violence on three continents since 1945 to maintain unjust overseas predatory investments.'
Martin Luther King's powerful sermon, notwithstanding, peace organizations, anti-war groups, progressive journalists, socialist historians, and people marching in protest tend to point a finger away from themselves and at their own elected and re-elected government and government officials, as if to convey the idea of their innocence of the genocide being committed in someone else's beloved country - in their name, in the name of all Americans.
Nowhere in the sermon does Martin Luther King say what the government should do, but instead, what Americans, should do, and what Americans should stop doing.
Though King was a minister, very few clergy supported King's denunciation of the genocide in Vietnam. Yes, genocide. "So far we may have killed a million of them, mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers."
The Silence of Clergy Today versus Rev. King's "Silence is Betrayal!"
We rarely hear even a peep from Clergy regarding US invasions and ongoing bombings in eight countries. Is this for its observing the doctrine of 'Separation of Church and State' or because the Church has become BOUND to the State and SEPARATED from its faith?
It would seem that given King's example, mainstream clergy in America has a clear choice. Continue to be silent, copying the shameful role of the Church during the Vietnam War almost to the end, or quote the documented words of a martyred giant the establishment has felt forced to honor with national holiday, the only American so honored.
King was made a saint of civil rights to make people forget the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, who condemned American invasions and bombing and was murdered by his government. He was promoted up high to get his inspiring and bold image off the streets.