Power of Story Send a Tweet        
- Advertisement -

Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 1 Share on Facebook 3 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 1 (5 Shares)  

Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites (# of views)   3 comments
OpEdNews Op Eds

Dr. King's Warning of "Two Americas"

By       Message Bill Moyers       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags  Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H2 4/12/13

Author 1413
Become a Fan
  (9 fans)
- Advertisement -
Source: Consortium News

This article is co-written by Michael Winship, senior writer at the think tank Demos, and also of the weekly public affairs program, Moyers & Company, airing on public television. 


Martin Luther King Jr. meeting with President Lyndon Johnson at the White House in 1966.

You may think you know about Martin Luther King, Jr., but there is much about the man and his message we have conveniently forgotten. He was a prophet, like Amos, Isaiah and Jeremiah of old, calling kings and plutocrats to account -- speaking truth to power.

- Advertisement -

King was only 39 when he was murdered in Memphis 45 years ago, on April 4, 1968. The 1963 March on Washington and the 1965 March from Selma to Montgomery were behind him. So was the successful passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.

In the last year of his life, as he moved toward Memphis and his death, he announced what he called the Poor People's Campaign, a "multi-racial army" that would come to Washington, build an encampment and demand from Congress an "Economic Bill of Rights" for all Americans -- black, white, or brown. He had long known that the fight for  racial  equality could not be separated from the need for  economic  equity -- fairness for all, including working people and the poor.

Martin Luther King, Jr., had more  than a dream -- he envisioned what America could be, if only it lived up to its promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for each and every citizen. That's what we have conveniently forgotten as the years have passed and his reality has slowly been shrouded in the marble monuments of sainthood.

- Advertisement -

But read part of the speech Dr. King made at Stanford University in 1967, a year before his assassination and marvel at how relevant his words remain:

"There are literally two Americas. One America is beautiful for situation. And in a sense this America is overflowing with the milk of prosperity and the honey of opportunity. This America is the habitat of millions of people who have food and material necessities for their bodies, and culture and education for their minds; and freedom and dignity for their spirits. ...

"Tragically and unfortunately, there is another America. This other America has a daily ugliness about it that constantly transforms the buoyancy of hope into the fatigue of despair. In this America millions of work-starved men walk the streets daily in search for jobs that do not exist. In this America millions of people find themselves living in rat-infected vermin-filled slums. In this America people are poor by the millions. They find themselves perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity."

Breathtakingly prescient words as we look around us at a society where the chasm between the superrich and poor is wider and deeper than ever. According to a Department of Housing and Urban Development press release, "On a single night last January, 633,782 people were homeless in the United States." The Institute for Policy Studies' online weekly "Too Much" notes that single-room-occupancy shelter rates run about $558 per month and quotes analyst Paul Buchheit, who says that at that rate, "Any one of America's ten richest collected enough in 2012 income to pay an entire year's rent for all of America's homeless."

But why rent when you can buy? "Too Much" also reports that the widow of recently deceased financier Martin Zweig "amid a Manhattan luxury boom" has placed their apartment at the top of the posh Pierre Hotel on the market for $125 million: "A sale at that price would set a new New York record for a luxury personal residence, more than $30 million over the current real estate high marks."

Meanwhile, a new briefing paper from the advocacy group National Employment Law Project (NELP) finds there are 27 million unemployed or underemployed workers in the U.S. labor force, including "not only the unemployed counted by official jobs reports, but also the eight million part-time workers who would rather be working full-time and the 6.8 million discouraged workers who want to work but who have stopped looking altogether."

Five years after the financial meltdown, "the average duration of unemployment remains at least twice that of any other recession since the 1950s."

- Advertisement -

And if you think austerity's a good idea, NELP estimates that, "Taken together, the 'sequester' and other budget-cutting policies will likely slow GDP this year by 2.1 percentage points, costing the U.S. economy over 2.4 million jobs."

Walmart's one of those companies laying people off, but according to the website Business Insider, the megachain's CEO Michael Duke gets paid 1,034 times more than his average worker. Matter of fact, "In the past 30 years, compensation for chief executives in America has increased 127 times faster than the average worker's salary."

Two Americas indeed.

 

- Advertisement -

Must Read 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Bill Moyers is President of the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy.

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon Share Author on Social Media   Go To Commenting

The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Trump-Russia Story Is Coming Together. Here's How to Make Sense of It

Moyers: Why Religion Should Not Dictate Our Politics

Living Under the Gun

The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: Robert Jay Lifton and Bill Moyers on "A Duty to Warn"

Ralph Reed: From Purgatory to Power

A Time for Heresy