Sunday, April 6, 2008

In Memoriam...

This is my first time back since the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination.

Much like another man I have admired greatly since I was a child, John Lennon, this man was murdered. Murdered because someone disagreed with him.

"Why can't we work it out?
Why can't we sort it out?
We'll work it out if we try.
Why can't we sit down and work out a compromise,
Why not negotiate and try to be civilised?
I'll tell you why, because nobody gives a damn.
Nobody listens and no one will understand.

Nobody gives. Nobody gives a damn any more.
The politicians, unions, workers and the militants,
The fact of it is nobody gives any more."
- The Kinks, "Nobody Gives"

All this horseshit floats around about bombs being in the World Trade Center, debates over whether or not steel can warp in a fire, a missile hitting the Pentagon, rumors that our country has been run by an Illuminati for decades, that the moon landing was a hoax...why don't you guys get off your asses and challenge that the FBI killed Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.?

It's far more worth your time.

The man's impact on society is immeasurable, and yet racism is still protected under free speech in this country. I'm anti-censorship, but this is an ideology that does not need to exist in the modern world. Latent racism permeates our culture, whether it's Michael Savage implying Al Qaeda operatives sneak into this country from Mexico (since as you all know, Hispanics and Middle Easterners all look the same), or Obama's naysayers constantly mentioning his middle name is Hussein. But then you call them on it, and what's their response?

"It's his middle name, what's wrong with pointing out his middle name? If you have a problem with it, you're the racist!"

Such statements have been made by arrogant white dudes on Fox News like Bill O'Reilly.

Then again, he is very sensitive to race issues. He spoke about lynching Michelle Obama.
Oh, yeah, and this little gem...

I do not believe in the Occult, but indulge me as I communicate with a man who has not been among us for 40 years.

Dr. King, if it is God's will, see what you can do about a possible resurrection. We need you now more than ever. You were against the Vietnam War, embracing the true Christian ideology found in the Bible of turning the other cheek. You had a dream, and a simple one: that "little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers."

It was tragic you needed to preach this message to begin with, that the very idea of blacks being segregated against, acts of racist terrorism, denial of voting rights, and one man being another's property were all considered acceptable in America. Nevertheless, you were a voice to the voiceless.

The tactic you advocated above all else, nonviolence, demonstrated what can be achieved by simply standing up to authority, looking them right in the face, and saying, "No." You encouraged protesters to not fight back while being clubbed, sprayed with fire hoses, or attacked by police dogs.

And it worked.

I admire you greatly, Reverend. You weren't a politician. The message you preached was not limited to podiums and sermons. That wasn't enough for you. You walked on the front lines of protest marches. I would love to see Hillary or even Obama summon up the gall to organize an antiwar march on Washington, and then lead the crowds.

You weren't afraid to go to jail for following your calling. Instead of throwing in the towel, you remained active. If they threw you into a cell, you wrote words of inspiration, words that impacted your generation and will continue to do so until the end of time.

While the only fear I have of jail is that the Patriot Act could keep me in custody for an indefinite period without even knowing the charges, you are a better man than I in that you didn't even fear death:

"We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."

Twenty-four hours later you were cut down by an assassin's bullet. You delivered that speech in light of a bomb threat on your plane.

You had a dream, and you paid the ultimate price for it. If there is an afterlife - and I believe there is - and if you are allowed to see what the mortal world is doing, I'm sure you have seen that in your death you live on. Your words have been made all the more sacred - as they should be. Your message will never die.

I promise to you that in my lifetime, your dream will be fulfilled.



m@ said...

Thank you.

UptownHippie said...

I do think it's sad that our generation lacks real voices of inspiration like MLK's. Our current brand of "inspiration" is the Oprah-esque "work hard so you can have lots of stuff because having stuff is what makes you a better person and brings fulfillment!" So we're a nation who values materialism above interracial harmony - or, well, above pretty much anything else - and it's pretty sad. I wonder what would happen if we in the U.S. would all just put our "stuff" down and take a deep breath and resolve to make an effort to really listen to those around us? What if we listened for the MLK-like voices around us in our own towns and classrooms and workplaces, and we opened our ears by putting down the magazines and turning off the TV (especially when talking heads like Bill O-fucking-Reilly make their appearance)? I think we as a generation might actually find real inspiration there, in really basic truths like "we should all have the same rights, and we should all be just a little bit nicer to each other while we're at it."

m@ said...

Other than their completely unnecessary political statement, (translate: it took a lot of the impact away from your comment) uptownhippie makes a very cool point.

Sheldon said...

All I can say is: Amen.

He was a great great man. Still is today.


Becky said...

everytime I hear someone make comments like that it just pisses me off...some people's heads are just so closed so thick that nothing can get through so they are left with their ignorance.

also to respond to uptownhippie, Oprah has also been inspiring people to give, to help others. Seriously, how many times has she given to the needy? She opened and funded a school in Africa to give girls a chance at education. she also has another show on sunday nights which people compete to see who can give the most.