Monday, January 21, 2008

don't you know i'm talking about a revolution


We celebrate you, Dr. King. Your wisdom, your passion, your burning desire to open our eyes to injustices everywhere. Your actions and words moving a nation forward, a revolution cut short by the same violence you so fiercely defied.

"In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a Promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked 'insufficient funds.'"

As we celebrate the life of Dr. King I can't help but wonder how he'd feel about our society today. A man whose words regarding our involvement in Vietnam could be spoken again for our war in Iraq.

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. President Kennedy said on one occasion, "Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind." The world must hear this. I pray to God that America will hear this before it is too late, because today we’re fighting a war.

I can't help but wonder if he'd feel sadness that 45 long years later we still have nooses in trees.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'"

And that 47 million of our children live in poverty.

It has played havoc with our domestic destinies. 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.

That we still prioritize greed and money over peace and love.

"This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day."
That we often fail to stand up for what we know is right because it is inconvenient and we are more concerned with self than community, with consumption over philanthropy.

"Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring—when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children—black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (All excerpts attributed to Dr. King)

Happy Birthday, Dr. King. May your dream continue to guide us, to shame us, and to keep us moving forward. Thank you for the challenge of your legacy.

28 comments:

Mad Hatter said...

Yes, he may be disillusioned if he knew but to think of where the States would be without him. Now, that would be devastating indeed.

The Holmes said...

Amen.

Gwen said...

I want to cry when people say that war is a necessary evil. How can you go forward thinking there's no other way?

QT said...

Thank you, jen, for this post.

Beck said...

Great post.

Kevin said...

I loved your post. And, thank you for using the word "revolution" as Dr. King also did.

I guess great minds think alike.

I also posted in honor of the good doctor today.

the end of motherhood said...

Glad you found something to say.

Family Adventure said...

This was a really interesting post, Jen. Thanks for posting it.

Heidi

crazymumma said...

What would he think? I think we all know what he would think, and I like to imagine his voice would still be as impassioned as it once was to drive many of us forward onto a better path.

crazymumma said...

What would he think? I think we all know what he would think, and I like to imagine his voice would still be as impassioned as it once was to drive many of us forward onto a better path.

Jennifer said...

I actually just posted some quotes of his about war and about the power of love and light, as well. I cannot get over the incredible power of his words. I so wish we still had his voice -- his active voice -- today, but his words are still so inspiring.

Thank you for this, and for your own thoughts. I really believe that if we keep the dream alive, we can make it so. I really believe that.

hele said...

He would have approved of you.

slouching mom said...

The words of MLK you selected are just perfect.

Thank you.

flutter said...

thank you for this

Oh, The Joys said...

The family Joy celebrated the day (and honored your baby shower) with our first family service project! Woo hooo! They are finally old enough! We talked with them about Dr. King. -- everything. Each one of us takes a step...

xo,
J

wheelsonthebus said...

Man, could he do metaphors. What an amazing voice. Just so sad that people still do not hear it.

Julie Pippert said...

Wonderful post.

You know...I think if he saw today? He'd be glad of so much progress and see that he still had much purpose, much work to do, and be glad to seize the opportunity to improve more.

I have no basis or evidence, only a gut feeling that it would be that approach.

mamatulip said...

Ah, Jen, thank you for such a great post on such an important day.

I still remember tears welling up in my mom's eyes when she told me about the first time she heard MLK say, "I have a dream..."

Kellan said...

Yes - and keep us moving forward! Well said. Thanks for this wonderful post Jen! See you soon. Kellan

FENICLE said...

Amen.

I saw Oprah's tribute today and even though I am not usually moved by her, for some reason today I was...

Janet said...

What a wonderful post to reunite you and your muse.

amen, amen, amen!

Kyla said...

So true. This was wonderful, jen.

deb said...

This gives me goosebumps.

Mary Alice said...

Beautiful. It is slow, but we are making progress.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

Amen Jen. Thanks for posting about this. Dr King was a true hero.

The Chick said...

I don't have anything profound to add but I do have to tell you that "Talkin Bout a Revolution" and "Findlandia" are two of Little Boy's favorite songs. We have to teach them where we can....

patches said...

Amen. I, too wonder what Dr. King would think of our society today.

The Expatriate Chef said...

Thank you. I thought about what MLK would say of our current election year. Of a black man running against a woman and both have a real shot.

Best I figure, after forty-plus years of rolling the grave, would be:

"What the hell took you so long?"