Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation's history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movement well and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us. - Martin Luther King Jr. (April 4, 1967)Exactly a year after Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech about America's moral responsibility in the world and its unsustainable militarism, he was assassinated. The date of his death has probably had a greater effect on the nation's psyche than December 7, 1941, when the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor. In his speech, the revolutionary non-violent sage called for an end to the "tragic war" in Vietnam, but he also revealed his skepticism about America's willingness to make the right decision about its destiny in history, saying "the world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve." Forty three years later, America is still not mature enough to take the right course. Will it disengage from needless conflicts around the world, and terminate its war machine and criminal empire, or will it continue its unjust and destructive ways? Before such a decision can be made, the American people must look within the shadows of the nation, and face the darkness that King said "seems so close around us."
The country has been buried in silence about MLK's tragic death, due in large part to the national media, but not everybody has been quiet and lethargic. The King family carried on the tradition of seeking truth and justice through non-violent means. In December 1999, Coretta Scott King and her children took a huge step towards healing the country's psyche, by recovering the details about the murder of their husband and father in a civil court. Twelve jurors reached the still unmentioned verdict that the death of Martin Luther King Jr. was the result of a criminal conspiracy, consisting of the Mafia, and local, state, and federal government agencies. At the trial's end, Mrs. King and the King family addressed a small gathering of reporters, expressing their gratitude for the American justice system, and their commitment to reconciliation and love.
Mrs. Coretta Scott King:
There is abundant evidence of a major high level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. And the civil court's unanimous verdict has validated our belief. I wholeheartedly applaud the verdict of the jury and I feel that justice has been well served in their deliberations. This verdict is not only a great victory for my family, but also a great victory for America. It is a great victory for truth itself. It is important to know that this was a SWIFT verdict, delivered after about an hour of jury deliberation. The jury was clearly convinced by the extensive evidence that was presented during the trial that, in addition to Mr. Jowers, the conspiracy of the Mafia, local, state and federal government agencies, were deeply involved in the assassination of my husband. The jury also affirmed overwhelming evidence that identified someone else, not James Earl Ray, as the shooter, and that Mr. Ray was set up to take the blame. I want to make it clear that my family has no interest in retribution. Instead, our sole concern has been that the full truth of the assassination has been revealed and adjudicated in a court of law. As we pursued this case, some wondered why we would spend the time and energy addressing such a painful part of the past. For both our family and the nation, the short answer is that we had to get involved because the system did not work. Those who are responsible for the assassination were not held to account for their involvement. This verdict, therefore, is a great victory for justice and truth. It has been a difficult and painful experience to revisit this tragedy, but we felt we had an obligation to do everything in our power to seek the truth. Not only for the peace of mind of our family but to also bring closure and healing to the nation. We have done what we can to reveal the truth, and we now urge you as members of the media, and we call upon elected officials, and other persons of influence to do what they can to share the revelation of this case to the widest possible audience.Though many commentators on the left and right will laud the man on the forty-second anniversary of his death this Sunday, few will draw attention to his uncompromising words about restoring peace in the world, and sanity in the nation. At a time when the war in Afghanistan is declared as being "absolutely essential" by President Barack Obama, there is not a King in the land who can stand up and raise the conscience of the country. The people are yearning for a leader with the moral courage and wisdom of Martin Luther King Jr, but no one has risen to the occasion yet. The pain is carved too deep, the problems are too great, if any man was to step forward and lift the ills of the country he would have to be a Messiah. If such a leader is unlikely to emerge, then the destiny of the country falls on the shoulders of the people; but can the people be great? If they can settle their petty political differences, and come together as one, then a leader won't have to be a Christ figure, or a Saint, he would just have to competent and honest enough to voice the concerns and love of the people.
In "The Silence of the Liberal Lambs" Chris Floyd addresses the silent left who have bowed down to Obama's war on Osama, the same bunch who only two years ago denounced the criminal imperial policy of the Bush administration. Floyd writes:
Unless there is some profound shift in American consciousness, of the sort that Martin Luther King Jr. was trying to effect in his last years, all of this will continue -- even if we have genuine health care reform, genuine rescue of those ravaged by our financial sharks, genuine environmental protection, and so on.The time to raise our collective voice is greater now than when King was alive. Many are predicting a summer of hell in Afghanistan. The Washington Post reported in February that nearly 1,000 American combat troops have already died in that country. All to ensure"democracy" and "women's rights." Despite the Presidents strong commitment to troop escalation, the consensus in the government is not as it appears in press reports and news releases. In November of last year, Gen. Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, made his frustrations known by sending classified documents to the New York Times. It was a move reminiscent of Daniel Ellsberg, the famous whistle-blower whose efforts brought the Vietnam war to an end. Ellsberg, who was once described as the "most dangerous man in America," by Henry Kissinger, recently told Democracy Now:
There is no prospect of any kind of success in Afghanistan, any more than the Soviets achieved in their ten years there, just as in Vietnam we really had no realistic prospect of more success than the French. But countries find it very hard to learn from the failures of other countries.It would be miraculous if America avoided the fate of not just the Soviet Union, but the Roman Empire. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are producing empty coffers at home, and filled coffins abroad. Financial and moral bankruptcy of the current criminal regime is certain. The American sleep will come to an end. But it is not up to a president to declare a national nightmare over, as Gerald Ford prematurely did upon the resignation of Richard Nixon, rather, the entire country has breathe a sigh of relief after a prolonged national crisis. And that may take a long time. Only a great and virtuous people are capable of bringing justice to their deprived leaders, and correcting the wrongs endorsed by generations of government officials. But if there ever was a people in history who could pull off such a task, it is the American people.
All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. - Thomas Jefferson