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Author: TriSec    Date: 01/15/2008 11:52:53

I yield the floor today to the Honorable Dr. Martin Luther King. Although he gave the following speech almost 41 years ago, he could just as easily give it today. Only the locations have changed.




Beyond Vietnam -- A Time to Break Silence


...The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.

And 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 movements 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.

Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: "Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King?" "Why are you joining the voices of dissent?" "Peace and civil rights don't mix," they say. "Aren't you hurting the cause of your people," they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live....



...Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. And so we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. And so we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years -- especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask -- and rightly so -- what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent...



...So they go, primarily women and children and the aged. They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one Vietcong-inflicted injury. 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.

What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?

We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation's only noncommunist revolutionary political force, the unified Buddhist Church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men.

Now there is little left to build on, save bitterness. *Soon the only solid physical foundations remaining will be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call "fortified hamlets." The peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these. Could we blame them for such thoughts? We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise. These, too, are our brothers....



...At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless in Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called "enemy," I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor.

Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home, and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours....


...It is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch antirevolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has a revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgment against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions that we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores, and thereby speed the day when "every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain."

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.

This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind. This oft misunderstood, this oft misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: "Let us love one another, for love is God. And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love." "If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us." Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day.

We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. And history is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says: "Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word"



Oh so much more at the link.


196 comments (Latest Comment: 01/16/2008 05:44:58 by livingonli)
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Comment by BobR on 01/15/2008 13:34:07
I never get tired of reading (or hearing) MLK...



Thanks, Tri.

Comment by velveeta jones on 01/15/2008 14:06:33
One of the greatest men this country has seen, and certainly one of the greatest speakers of that generation.



Oh, Health insurance companies are killing America.

(More on that later).

Comment by velveeta jones on 01/15/2008 14:10:27
btw: A Las Vegas judge has ruled that democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich must participate in the Tuesday night presidential debate in Las Vegas.









Comment by velveeta jones on 01/15/2008 14:19:02


Kucinich learned of the judge's decision when he was handed a note during an interview with Fox Business Network's Neil Cavuto.



"Holy smokes! I just found out. I have to get off the phone now. I have to make plans to go to Nevada," Kucinich said







Comment by starling310 on 01/15/2008 14:24:48
Quote by velveeta jones:

Kucinich learned of the judge's decision when he was handed a note during an interview with Fox Business Network's Neil Cavuto.



"Holy smokes! I just found out. I have to get off the phone now. I have to make plans to go to Nevada," Kucinich said









Holy smokes.

:wub2:



Comment by m-hadley on 01/15/2008 14:25:33
Good Morning Everybody,

The students are back at the college where I work, so it has been super busy here. But I did want to share this quote that I added to my blog last night:

"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become reality. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word."

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.



Carry on gang - I love what you are all about!!!





Comment by TriSec on 01/15/2008 14:26:43
Reading Dr. King this morning, I was struck by one thing.



He could have made that speech this morning, word for word.



He did say those words four decades ago.



Has anything really changed?





I've said it before, and with every passing day I grow more and more convinced that America reached it's pinnacle one summer's day in the late 60s...and we won't get back to those heights again unless something dramatic changes.









Comment by Raine on 01/15/2008 14:36:54
:clap: Thaks you for today's blog , Tri.



And good morning everyone.

Comment by starling310 on 01/15/2008 14:37:11
Fricksle!



Pffftsss....

Comment by Raine on 01/15/2008 14:38:13
Quote by m-hadley: Good Morning Everybody,

The students are back at the college where I work, so it has been super busy here. But I did want to share this quote that I added to my blog last night:

"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become reality. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word."

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.



Carry on gang - I love what you are all about!!!



Heya m-h!







Comment by Raine on 01/15/2008 14:39:45
I certainly hope momma mentions that Dennis is on the ballot in Michigan.

Comment by starling310 on 01/15/2008 14:44:35
F*ckabee.

Comment by starling310 on 01/15/2008 14:46:18
I really don't get how, after 8 years of president chuckles, people can't see that Huckabee has that SAME FRAT BOY STYLE of reductive, condescending humor.

God, some people really are idiots.





Comment by velveeta jones on 01/15/2008 14:47:37
ATTENTIONS Kucinich supporters:



Dear Kucinich Supporters,

FINALLY, the principle that we are a nation of laws and not of corporate media control has prevailed. And without your support, your phone calls and emails and letters, this issue might never have attracted the national attention it has.

BUT, while Dennis is preparing to go to Nevada - court order in hand - to represent your interests, expect that MSNBC, NBC, its parent company GE, and dozens of other alphabet-soup corporations in the nation will start filing appeals on top of appeals to keep Dennis out of the debate and try to deplete our limited financial resources. Multi-billion corporations don't want Dennis on that stage Tuesday night. And they will do everything; spend anything they need to make sure that his voice - your voice - is not heard. The law is on our side, but the dollars are on theirs.



Defend your rights today. Make a contribution today to the only candidate who is willing to challenge the powerful interests that want to control you.

They will try to outspend us, but, with your help, they won't be able to out-fight us. Please, contribute whatever you can to defend your rights, and ask everyone you know to do the same.

We won today, but tomorrow is another battle.

Strength through Peace

Kucinich Campaign



(I'm sending $75 - come on ya'll.........some of you have jobs!)



Comment by starling310 on 01/15/2008 14:53:51
I am really starting to tire of the "discussions" that take the route of that caller.

"You shouldn't be for ( fill in the blank ) because they didn't vote for ( fill in the blank. )"

Howz about ya say what is positive about your particular choice and HAVE AN ACTUAL DISCUSSION!!!!!!



Comment by starling310 on 01/15/2008 14:58:42
Callers for Kucinich. . . don't tell Momma to plug Dennis.

Call the show and say "Hey Momma. Love the show! Michigan get out there and vote for Kucinich. It isn't up to Momma. IT'S UP TO US!!!!:"



Oy....I am in a state today.



Comment by wickedpam on 01/15/2008 15:03:17
Morning!

Comment by velveeta jones on 01/15/2008 15:05:22
Quote by starling310: Callers for Kucinich. . . don't tell Momma to plug Dennis.

Call the show and say "Hey Momma. Love the show! Michigan get out there and vote for Kucinich. It isn't up to Momma. IT'S UP TO US!!!!:"



Oy....I am in a state today.



Totally agree. And if I had the show on to know what's going on.........I'd call in. I do have her on speed dial.



Comment by m-hadley on 01/15/2008 15:06:45
Another Take on the Michigan vote today:I

am swamped at work this morning, so I can't call in, but I do want to add my two cents to the discussion this morning. John McCain scares the bejesus out of me - for all of the reasons that Stephanie has articulated. I think that many, many people out here in the heartland find McCain palatable because of his war experience, his long-term service in the senate, and his moderate stance on immigration. But as you all have pointed out there is an ugly side to McCain - the warmongering, leave 'em in Iraq for eternity while we bomb the bejesus out of Iran (although I've got to agree with Jim on this one - I think that Bush/Cheney will take care of this before they leave office). Remind me, WHY IS IMPEACHMENT OFF THE TABLE??? I recommend that all good Democrats vote for Romney in Michigan today because I believe that Romney is very beatable in November. Just my thoughts.

Comment by livingonli on 01/15/2008 15:11:45
Good morning all.



I really have to go to bed earlier.

Comment by velveeta jones on 01/15/2008 15:12:02
I don't understand this democratic vote for Romney? I've heard this a lot lately. Can Dems vote for a dem and Repthug? If so, then I agree, if not, then pleeeeease vote for Edwards.

Comment by velveeta jones on 01/15/2008 15:13:32
I'll be back. I've now wasted my morning.........watching it snow. But must go do some volunteer work. (At least I'll have a radio).



Peace.

Comment by m-hadley on 01/15/2008 15:18:25
Edwards is not on the ballot in Michigan and any attempt to write in a candidate will void the ballot, so the idea is because the democratic voters' options are so limited and Michigan delegates won't be recognized at the Convention anyway, why not pull a positively rovian trick and mess with the rethuglican field and throw the vote for the weaker candidate (i.e. Romney). Just messing with the GOP!!

Comment by starling310 on 01/15/2008 15:18:28
Quote by velveeta jones: I don't understand this democratic vote for Romney? I've heard this a lot lately. Can Dems vote for a dem and Repthug? If so, then I agree, if not, then pleeeeease vote for Edwards.




I think this is being sold as a strategy, strictly for Michigan, where Edwards is not on the ballot.



Comment by m-hadley on 01/15/2008 15:20:20
I think this is being sold as a strategy, strictly for Michigan, where Edwards is not on the ballot.



Exactly - this is for Michigan ONLY. Now I gotta get back to work ;(

Comment by starling310 on 01/15/2008 15:21:42
: puts megaphone to mouth :



WE REPEAT! MESS WITH THE G.O.P. IN MICHIGAN ONLY.



Comment by livingonli on 01/15/2008 15:23:27
Take care VJ. At least you can listen to Momma on the radio.



Who wonders what a scary coincidence it was that one year to the date after MLK gave that speech, he was assasinated.

Comment by Raine on 01/15/2008 15:31:32
I feel very strongly about thi Voters should not fuck with the GOP in Michigan. Don't give them anything. Either Vote Dennis or uncommitted.





Until yesterday I did not know he was on the ballot, prior to yesterday, it was actually Kos who was telling people to Vote for Mitt, so we can keep him on the the ballot. That is a very repulican thing to do, and I do not want to be like the republicans.



HARUMPH>



Comment by Raine on 01/15/2008 15:32:52
AND no, you cannot vote for edwards at all. Michigan throws out write in votes. They do not count at all. A vote for edwards would be like not voting at all.

Comment by Raine on 01/15/2008 15:33:35
Quote by starling310: : puts megaphone to mouth :



WE REPEAT! MESS WITH THE G.O.P. IN MICHIGAN ONLY.





Comment by starling310 on 01/15/2008 15:34:48
Dennis!

Comment by livingonli on 01/15/2008 15:35:28
VJ's story made the airwaves.

Comment by BobR on 01/15/2008 15:36:11
morning, folks... :coffee:



trudging through the salt mines...

Comment by Raine on 01/15/2008 15:38:26
Quote by BobR: morning, folks... :coffee:



trudging through the salt mines...
heya BobR... Still trudging thru my computer issues.



Comment by livingonli on 01/15/2008 15:38:34
Quote by Raine: I feel very strongly about thi Voters should not fuck with the GOP in Michigan. Don't give them anything. Either Vote Dennis or uncommitted.





Until yesterday I did not know he was on the ballot, prior to yesterday, it was actually Kos who was telling people to Vote for Mitt, so we can keep him on the the ballot. That is a very repulican thing to do, and I do not want to be like the republicans.



HARUMPH>



Thom said vote for uncommitted after a caller critiqued Kos' strategy and Randi said vote for Dennis. If I was in Michigan, I would vote for Dennis. I would love a Dennis victory not just because I support him but as a mind-fuck to the establishment and the pundits of the M$M.

Comment by Raine on 01/15/2008 15:41:40
Quote by livingonli:
Quote by Raine: I feel very strongly about thi Voters should not fuck with the GOP in Michigan. Don't give them anything. Either Vote Dennis or uncommitted.





Until yesterday I did not know he was on the ballot, prior to yesterday, it was actually Kos who was telling people to Vote for Mitt, so we can keep him on the the ballot. That is a very repulican thing to do, and I do not want to be like the republicans.



HARUMPH>



Thom said vote for uncommitted after a caller critiqued Kos' strategy and Randi said vote for Dennis. If I was in Michigan, I would vote for Dennis. I would love a Dennis victory not just because I support him but as a mind-fuck to the establishment and the pundits of the M$M.


I didn't like the Kos strategy to begin with, and then when I found out he totally is ignoring Dennis, and really didn't make it known, I got a bit angry.



We must support our own candidates!!

Comment by wickedpam on 01/15/2008 15:41:49
Yes he was baby bird.

Comment by livingonli on 01/15/2008 15:43:31
Did Momma's straw hat come from the set of a Merchant-Ivory film?

Comment by starling310 on 01/15/2008 15:45:30
Quote by Raine: I feel very strongly about thi Voters should not fuck with the GOP in Michigan. Don't give them anything. Either Vote Dennis or uncommitted.





Until yesterday I did not know he was on the ballot, prior to yesterday, it was actually Kos who was telling people to Vote for Mitt, so we can keep him on the the ballot. That is a very repulican thing to do, and I do not want to be like the republicans.



HARUMPH>





: joe biden : Yes.



If I was in Michigan, I would vote for Dennis.



My point was if people choose to Mess with 'em. . . it should only be done in Michigan.



Comment by Raine on 01/15/2008 15:48:36
Comment by Raine on 01/15/2008 15:49:48
Quote by starling310:
Quote by Raine: I feel very strongly about thi Voters should not fuck with the GOP in Michigan. Don't give them anything. Either Vote Dennis or uncommitted.





Until yesterday I did not know he was on the ballot, prior to yesterday, it was actually Kos who was telling people to Vote for Mitt, so we can keep him on the the ballot. That is a very repulican thing to do, and I do not want to be like the republicans.



HARUMPH>





: joe biden : Yes.



If I was in Michigan, I would vote for Dennis.



My point was if people choose to Mess with 'em. . . it should only be done in Michigan.

OF course. (you know I was not harumph-ing at you... I am in a bit of a state as well this morning.)







Comment by livingonli on 01/15/2008 15:51:58
A salute to man boobs;



http://www.thetartan.org/system/asset/image/614/small/IMG_9061.jpg


Comment by starling310 on 01/15/2008 15:55:04
Good rule of thumb for Pundits, Campaign Advisors, etc. . . .



LEAVE THE JOKES TO THE COMEDIANS. Lest, you always end up with your foot in your mouth.

Comment by starling310 on 01/15/2008 15:55:30
Quote by Raine:
Quote by starling310:
Quote by Raine: I feel very strongly about thi Voters should not fuck with the GOP in Michigan. Don't give them anything. Either Vote Dennis or uncommitted.





Until yesterday I did not know he was on the ballot, prior to yesterday, it was actually Kos who was telling people to Vote for Mitt, so we can keep him on the the ballot. That is a very repulican thing to do, and I do not want to be like the republicans.



HARUMPH>





: joe biden : Yes.



If I was in Michigan, I would vote for Dennis.



My point was if people choose to Mess with 'em. . . it should only be done in Michigan.

OF course. (you know I was not harumph-ing at you... I am in a bit of a state as well this morning.)









You better not be! I will have to hug you.



Comment by starling310 on 01/15/2008 15:56:52
Oy...this is like saying you don't like Shakespeare around Theater people!



Comment by starling310 on 01/15/2008 15:57:41
Musin' Musin' Musin'

Keep this bloggie Musin'



Comment by wickedpam on 01/15/2008 15:58:00
I have to agree with Chris on this. It took a Pres to make it a law, to help MLK's dream into reality.

Comment by starling310 on 01/15/2008 16:02:34
Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use

Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use Steroid use . . . .



:thud:

Comment by wickedpam on 01/15/2008 16:03:17


Comment by TriSec on 01/15/2008 16:04:37
Oog.



I'm giving some serious thought to "crossing the line" on Feb 5 and voting against Romney...just for the perverse pleasure of watching him lose his 'home' state.



But that would be bad, right?