U.S. progressives are so swamped, keeping up with answering the false agenda of corporate governance, projected by that governance’s locked-in-step conglomerate entertainment/news media, that they have very little time or energy left to promote a more intelligent agenda, honest to historical context. Our progressive journalists and congressmen could always have time to catch their breath by merely regularly reminding the public over and over again of MLK Jr.' unanswerable condemnation, "My government is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today."
Rather than feeling constrained to consider our pseudo-democracy as having potential to be otherwise, and speaking and writing from an ‘acceptable’ in-house loyal opposition standpoint of seeking moderate reform from within the present illegal system of corporate governance, we can quote King Jr. calling for a stop to the perfidy, "Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam"
Hello? There is no one the stature of King to speak of the poor of Iraq today? During the debate on the controversial appropriations bill to fund forward the war in Iraq, we listened to a long line of Senators speak emotionally to the suffering U.S. soldiers and their families with nary a mention of the Iraqis. Even the soft-spoken majority leader Sen. Harry Reed summed up the Democratic position with great compassion for American wounded and dead, and not a single word for Iraqi suffering.
Have Americans no shame? Was King Jr. so rare an American to have been MORE shocked about the suffering inhabitants of the countries we invaded than that of our invading fellow countrymen? We are accustomed to John McCain and so many of his congressional colleagues showing pride for having 'served' in Vietnam with no remorse nor mention of the Vietnamese they bombed, shot, napalmed, etc., never mind President Ike admitting that Ho Chi Minh would have been overwhelmingly elected if we had allowed a national election as agreed to after the French were defeated. We listen to this puffed up pride of having fought in 'mistaken' wars today in silence. "A time comes when silence is betrayal." That time has come" said King, one year to the day before they had him shot down.
But we have documented words of a martyred giant on our side. The establishment felt forced to make his birthday a national holiday, figuring moving him up stairs to high honor (Not even Lincoln or Washington gets a holiday) would get King Jr. off the streets, where he was too popular and effective for the gang in power's comfort. Now, do we blow this gift from destiny's twist. Is The Congressional Black Caucus and The Progressive Caucus NEVER going to quote the PROGRESSIVE KING JR., in congress, in the media, in position papers as our martyred leader?
King jr., " A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will 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 countries, and say: "This is not just" It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say: "This is not just."
Although our generation has witnessed the media sanitizing the term ‘capitalism’, until recently the word ‘capitalist’ has had a severely pejorative connotation. Network anchors would have us take for granted that all Americans are all capitalists, but this is absolutely not the case. Media personalities cite capitalism as the giver of freedom, democracy and prosperity, hoping to rope us all into blindness and forgetfulness.
But there is an enormous part of the U.S. population that is not capitalist, not imperialist, by and large not politically active, a substantial portion not even registered to vote, that most probably constitutes a self-unaware majority in the U.S. This is the sector of American society that logically should be a prime target audience for a rebirth of King's words against war and the system that produces these invasions into third world nations.
King spoke, "We in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. We must continue to raise our voices and our lives if our nation persists in its perverse ways ... Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest. Our nettlesome task is to discover how to organize our strength into compelling power."
MLK is an icon. King has stature. His words bite! They are respected and are almost impossible for anyone to answer in criticism. Ignoring them is all the war supporters could try to continue to do. King made people feel ashamed. We caught his shame, his sense of responsibility. The Black and Progressive caucuses have no national stature, but if they quoted the strongest words of the only American whose birthday is a public holiday, they could have! We are not naive about how few members of these caucuses would support quoting Dr. King's condemnation of government policy. We would settle for Rev. King Jr. being quoted often by a smaller caucus of real progressives, brave progressives willing to put their reelection second, and King Jr.' kind of passion for justice and their own integrity during the remainder of their current elected terms of office first.
We can resurrect King's outcry against US war crimes, buried by corporate mass media, at a time in which a criminally insane administration, and liberals as well, seek to convince us that the violence coming back at us is the 'greater' violence that justifies our present massive overkill policies.
King's birthday holiday is progressives' annual opportunity to re-broadcast Rev. King Jr.' preaching against the war on Vietnam, and to relate his words to today's wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia.