Monday, January 21, 2008

A Visit To The Past

"Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true." ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Lone Ranger has posted a link to a poem about Martin Luther King today, whose author has pointed out the negative changes in the black culture since MLK's death in 1968.

Two years ago, I wrote a letter to the editor of my local paper. It was in response to an article about Martin Luther King and what he accomplished. It was the authors contention that MLK didn't accomplish very much, that there had been little positive change. I then copied and pasted the letter into a MLK day post here on my blog. The paper published my letter in it's entirety. The following, self edited, is what I wrote on my blog:

The local newspaper here had an article written by a David A Love, a writer for Progressive Media Project in Madison, Wisconsin, as a guest columnist. In it, Mr. Love made some pretty astounding statements.

He said since Dr. King died, "Americans have learned few lessons from King". His first example was, "37 million people live below the poverty line including 13 million children."

I had it in my mind that perhaps the percentage of those living below the poverty line might have been higher than that at the time of Dr. King's death, but I couldn't find much information specifically addressing that issue. So, I didn't reply, but I wonder what that has to do with racial equality.

Black and poor are two words that are not synonymous.

Next, he said, "45 million of us don't have health insurance", But I think there are too many factors influencing that to draw the conclusion that Americans haven't learned to accept everyone as equals from that. Some people choose not to have health insurance, and anyway, that isn't the governments responsibility. I decided not to address that statement in my reply, as my letter was already getting longer than I intended.

With that in mind, this is the letter that I sent to the editor of the Hagerstown Herald Mail, addressing the rest of the statements he made:

To the Editor:

According to your guest columnist, David A. Love, in the article entitled, America Should Honor King's Teachings, (Herald Mail Monday Jan. 16) "Americans have learned few lessons" since the death of Martin Luther King Jr.

Mr. Love arrogantly assumes the readers will blindly accept whatever he says as fact, without questioning or doing research. That is a mistake. In this age of the internet, fact checking can be done effortlessly and without having to have a formal education. Let me set him straight.

Today, a black man can enter any restaurant or lunch counter anywhere in America, including the deep south, and sit down next to a white man without fear of being lynched. Or even frowned upon.

And we haven't learned?

No more are there two sets of bathrooms or drinking fountains, one labeled white and one labeled colored. Today a black man can drink from any water source he wants to without fear of angering any white people. In fact, it is doubtful that any white people would give him a second glance.

And we haven't learned?

There are no more lynchings, no more black church bombings, no more middle of the night abductions of black people followed by brutal beatings.

And we haven't learned?

No one forces black girls to sit in the back of the bus, or stands in the doorway of schools to block their entrance.

And we haven't learned?

Today Black writers can write editorials that make outrageously racially biased statements without fear of retribution. You couldn't have written your piece in a mainstream newspaper in 1960, Mr. Love.

What haven't we learned?

Yes, Mr. Love, there are isolated incidents where some backward, ignorant, racist, white people burn crosses in front yards and scrawl racist graffiti on black people's houses, etc. But those instances are few and far between. And there are more, much more incidents of black racists committing racially motivated crimes nowadays.

Mr. Love also writes, "The devastation in New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast brought to light the lingering problems of race and class."

Recently some interesting information was reported in newspapers and on television and radio news outlets across the country: More white people were effected adversely by the hurricanes than blacks.

What lingering problems, Mr. Love?

Next, Mr. Love makes this claim:

"And the nation squanders away it's resources on the failed war in Iraq."

Oh really? What exactly, is Mr. Love's criteria for what constitutes a "failed war"?

For the first time since Saddam Hussein gained power in Iraq, free and independent elections have been held. Not just one. Three of them in the last year.

A murderous, vicious, sadistic dictator, who had hundreds of thousands of his own people slaughtered has been deposed.

Torture and rape rooms all over Iraq have been shut down. Women, who up until now, have been treated as second class citizens at best and pack animals at worst, have attained personhood in Iraq.

Note: Let me add here in 2008: The surge is working.

And all this at the cost of many less American lives than have died in any of America's previous wars.

And we haven't learned?

His last point:

"On March 31, 1968 King preached his final sermon...four days before his assassination. In the sermon, he noted that, 'one of the great liabilities of life is that all too many people find themselves living amid a great period of social change, and yet they fail to develop the new attitudes, the new mental responses, and the new situation demands. They end up sleeping through a revolution.''

Mr. Love, it's time to wake up from your 35 year nap, and see what Americans have learned.

17 comments:

Dan Trabue said...

Gotta love King...

I am convinced that it is one of the most unjust wars that has ever been fought in the history of the world. Our involvement in the war in Vietnam has torn up the Geneva Accord. It has strengthened the military-industrial complex...

I want to say one other challenge that we face is simply that we must find an alternative to war and bloodshed. Anyone who feels, and there are still a lot of people who feel that way, that war can solve the social problems facing mankind is sleeping through a great revolution...

This day we are spending five hundred thousand dollars to kill every Vietcong soldier. Every time we kill one we spend about five hundred thousand dollars while we spend only fifty-three dollars a year for every person characterized as poverty-stricken in the so-called poverty program, which is not even a good skirmish against poverty...

The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty...


Gotta love his WHOLE legacy.

Mark said...

Dan, your incessant tirades against the war are growing tiresome. The only reason I published your comment is to show everyone else how you manage to miss the point entirely.

If you want to make a comment, stick to the subject. I will not publish any more off topic anti-war rants from you.

If I post an entry about war, you are welcome to offer your opinion, as long as you aren't being willfully obtuse.

Dan Trabue said...

Actually, the point of my comment was to comment upon those who'd honor King but ignore what he said. White folk LOVE to embrace the sweet lovable "Let's all get along" King, which was 1/10th of King's message.

But when King gets down to what it actually means to work for justice and equality for all - black, white, poor, wealthy, American, foreigner - well, we tend to ignore that message.

It reminds me of what Jesus said:

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, 'If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.'

"So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets."


You can't honor the man and ignore his words.

Mark said...

Wrong, Dan. Your first comment had nothing at all to do with Dr. King and everything to do with one of your typical anti-war rants.

Dr. King's position on war was the same as mine. It is Hell, but it is sometimes an inevitable last resort. Sometimes war is necessary. Even he understood that.

Gayle said...

Mark, your letter was exellent, and I'm glad to see that you get your voice out there in other media besides the internet. I try, but the papers around here are very liberal, so it's not easy, although I've managed to get a few published, but only when they aren't too political.

Great job on this!

Mark said...

Trust me, Gayle. The Hagerstown paper is very liberal.

Henry said...

ON MLK Day, I would like to share the following essay, penned by Bob Parks:

As usual, on Martin Luther King's birthday, liberals have distorted thus his message, in order to justify their ownership of his legacy.

Let me be frank to the left in America: slavery is over. The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., doesn't belong to you. His words are his, and when you shape those words to fit your agenda, you're showing the disrespect expected but will not go unanswered.

Last year, during a morning assembly in a Massachusetts school, kids obviously reciting the sentiments of their teachers claimed that the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was for, among other things, gay marriage.

A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Alveda King, Martin Luther King's niece, who lived through the civil rights movement with her uncle. She understands him more than those who wish to usurp his message for their own agenda.

She once said, "If he would have championed gay rights today, he would have done it while he was here. There was ample opportunity for him to champion gay rights during his lifetime, and he did not do so. His daughter, Elder Bernice King has been recorded as saying, "I know in my sanctified soul that he did not take a bullet for same-sex marriage."

There are some other facts that must be taken into account. Now while some assume Dr. King must have been some kind of Marxist, the last time he registered under a party umbrella, Martin Luther King Jr. registered as a Republican, as were his parents.

Some speculate if Dr. King were alive today, he'd be vilified as an Uncle Tom for not supporting, among other things, Affirmative Action.

If you remember, Dr. King wanted all people judged, not by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.

That means if you want to get a job, you need to be qualified for that job. That means going to school to get educated. Getting an education is not "acting white" but preparing oneself for a productive future.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was not a liberal. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s message was one of hope and optimism. His message was clear and doesn't need some radical misinterpretation to justify liberal activity.

Leave his words as he delivered them. He doesn't belong to anyone. Celebrate the man as he was, and judge him on the content of his character, just like everyone else.


Thank you MLK, and thank you Mr. Parks.

: JustaDog said...

Americans have learned few lessons

Because blacks, for decades, have been trusting Democrats to deliver yet all this time they have been exploited to the MAX!

BTW, Rosa Parks was far greater than MLK.

BTW2: Doubt if this comment will see the light of day through the liberal censors.

Marshall Art said...

Wow! Two for the price of one!

Great post Mark! And great Bob Parks piece offered by Henry! Both are right on the money.

Now for my buddy, Dan.

As cool a dude as King was, he was wrong on Viet Nam. The most unjust aspect of that war was the way in which it was fought and not supported by liberal wackjobs at home. The King exerpt posted by Dan doesn't take into account aggressive scumbags in the world. In that, he's much like Dan.

Dan Trabue said...

There's a more balanced view of King offered at Levellers.wordpress.com

Marshall Art said...

I've learned there's nothing balanced about Levellers. Opposing views are not welcome, nor are those expressed in a light-hearted manner. The host there is full of himself and other, less pleasant substances. Intolerant, humorless and rather cowardly. I rate it no stars and two thumbs down.

Mark said...

True, Art. The guy that administrates that site is a socialist Liberal. There can be no unbiased side to his site.

Mark said...

I think Dan copies and pastes the guys writings when he comments here.

Mark said...

Dan says, "But when King gets down to what it actually means to work for justice and equality for all - black, white, poor, wealthy, American, foreigner - well, we tend to ignore that message."

Not at all. Did you even read my post? My whole point was blacks have achieved justice and equality with rich white people since King's death, contrary to what Mr. Love says.

In fact, the pendulum has swung in the other direction. Try to get a fair trial today if you're white. Try to get hired if you're white if there are blacks applying for the same position.

White guilt has more than equalized the playing field.

Al-Ozarka said...

Great post, Mark!

MLK is probably rolling over in his grace knowing that there are people out there who think as Dan does.

BTW, will you join me now?

Al-Ozarka said...

Mike is about as level as the hills from whence I hail!

Mike's America said...

Off topic: Mark, I was wondering what you thought of Duncan Hunter endorsing Mike Huckabee?

Knowing Hunter's positions on the issues I was very surprised.