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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Martin Luther King Commemoration Monday in Brookings

Given we have talk-radio-fueled psychos issuing ultimata to governors to quit or be "forcibly removed" and trailer-park soldier wannabes thinking it's God's will to kill cops and overthrow the government, maybe we should all take a moment to recall where such behavior can lead.

The Brookings Public Library hosts a commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King on Monday, April 5, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event will include a presentation of Dr. King's April 4, 1967, "Beyond Vietnam" speech, along with a photo montage by local artist Phyllis Cole-Dai. A group discussion will follow. The program is sponsored by the Brookings Humans Rights Committee (yes, the city has one!).

That MLK speech has come to my attention often. Some key lines:

...We are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside . . . but one day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that a system that produces beggars needs to be repaved. We are called to be the Good Samaritan, but after you lift so many people out of the ditch you start to ask, maybe the whole road to Jericho needs to be repaved....

...A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

Martin Luther King's calls for social justice sprang from his Christianity. Those calls provoked rage from whites desperate to "take our country back!" from people who don't "deserve" America. The same rage that led to King's murder by a racist thug 22 years ago Sunday sounds uncomfortably familiar to today's politics.

Read more: Bob Herbert discusses the relevance of Dr. King's 1967 speech to today's foreign policy in Afghanistan... a costly endeavor of our federal government about which Tea Bags are confusedly and confusingly silent.


  1. Three cheers for the Brookings Human Rights Committee (and organization to which I was the student representative as an SDSU undergrad)!! I think this is, as you point out, a well-timed reminder of civil public discourse, as well as a way to ensure that we're remembering Dr. King's messages more often than once every January. Thanks for giving this some blog space, Cory!

  2. Racism is definitely an undercurrent right now although it's denied. His image is distorted for that effect in these anti-Obama billboards going up in the south: http://billboardsagainstobama.com/

  3. Dr. Martin Luther King was a visionary, unlike President Obama, who wants to fundamentally change and equalize/socialize our country. When King told us he had a dream, his dream was clear and unwaivering. When Obama says "change you can believe in", we never know which change he'll come up with next. The target is always moving and different than his campaign speeches. There is no comparison between Dr. King and President Obama. One was a passionate shining example for all people, the other was promised as something great, but is slowly sinking like the Titanic. I feel bad for those who followed Obama like the Pied Piper during the last election. And John, I disagree that those posters are motivated by racism. People are actually scared and angry over the unchecked government changes. When people fear their country is being taken away, civil discourse follows.

  4. So the rage, anger, and threats of anti-government violence are justified?

  5. GoldMan, Obama made a set of campaign promises and is acting on them. Those who didn't like those promises then are the ones screaming now.

    It's as simple as that.

    It's intellectually dishonest of you to pretend otherwise. In other words, If he's NOT doing what he said he would do, you should be happy.

    The lies from the right just get so tiresome after a while. Someone should write some new talking points for you guys.

    Oh, wait, they can't. They're the Party of Hell No! And as such, they don't really have any other ideas, do they.

  6. Goldman. President Obama is a politician.When you say "There is no comparison between Dr. King and President Obama", you are correct. Comparing him to Dr. King does them both a disservice. He has to deal with political reality's in order to get things done. The health care reform bill , for example, is not a perfect incarnation of his campaign promises, but that never happens anyway. The fact that it was passed into law at all is the change that is important. He said it would happen in his first term and it did. That is about as good as it gets in politics.
    Your description of Dr King as a "shining example for all people" is admirable and proves how much "progress" has been made in this nation in the past four decades. Most people on the right side of the aisle were calling him a Communist at the time. Sound familiar?

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  9. Third times a charm:


    Come over and critique my new site.


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