by Scott Creighton
“But there is something strangely inconsistent about a nation and a press that will praise you when you say be non-violent toward Jim Clark but will curse and damn you when you say be non-violent toward little brown Vietnamese children. There is something wrong with that press.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
In what I can only describe as a detestable perversion of our national heritage, Jeh C. Johnson, the Defense Department’s general counsel and Morehouse College graduate (like King himself), gave a keynote address (full text of that address, here) at the 26th annual observance of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Pentagon in which he concluded that Martin Luther King, Jr. would have approved of the Global War on Terror.
“I believe that if Dr. King were alive today, he would recognize that we live in a complicated world, and that our nation’s military should not and cannot lay down its arms and leave the American people vulnerable to terrorist attack,” Jeh C. Johnson
This corruption of history would have been worrisome but comical under the Bush administration. Imagine if Cheney or Rumsfeld had dared to think they could possibly have gotten away with such a ridiculous and insulting statement. But under Obama, delivered by Jeh Johnson? It’s frightening.
On April the 4th 1967, Martin Luther King embarked publicly on the most dangerous course of action he would face. He had stood up against segregation, he had stood up for the poor and abused of this country. He had fought his whole life to liberate his people, our people. But when he chose to address the issue of the injustice of the Vietnam war, even his long-time supporters stepped away from his side. One year to the day after he gave this speech, after a year of ridicule and personal attacks from the MSM and even his former allies, Martin Luther King was killed by yet another “lone gunman”.
King knew the price he would pay.. and he paid it gladly. Because for him, silence would have been betrayal.
Below are Kings words, in text and in digital format for all the world to hear. Draw your own conclusions. Is Jeh Johnson correct or is he betraying the living legacy of one of our greatest leaders with the apathy of his own conformist thought?
“A time comes when silence is betrayal.” That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.
“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.”
“… And I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first having spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today… my own government.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
I offer you the spoken word of Dr. King as a reminder. Not of what he stood for, not of what he died for… but I offer you his words as a reminder of what a leader used to be in this country. As the MSM heaps praise on the sophomoric rhetoric of Obama’s latest speech, looking for something, anything to “believe” in again, let’s remember what real courage sounded like… what it felt like. For we may not see the likes of it again in our lifetimes but we will never forget what it is and we will never accept the processed, pre-packaged corporatist substitution they are trying to sell us in its place: product Obama.
We were better than that, once. And we will be again.
Yesterday I wrote about President Obama’s wildly praised memorial service speech. I wrote about the hypocrisy of Obama’s condemning the killing of a 9-year-old child while he just signed a military appropriations bill which continues the killing of children and violence committed against their fathers and mothers in nations all across the globe. I wrote about the hypocrisy of crying over Giffords’ tragic wounds while our military refuses to classify similar scars as even being worthy of a Purple Cross. I wrote about the audacity of demonizing politically inspired violence perpetrated in America while that same justification is the basis for each and every dead U.S. soldier and civilian in the wars our leaders lied to us to start. We are at war, not for protection against terrorism. We are at war to realign the Middle East into something our corporate and banking leaders can more readily profit from. We are there to implement a political shift if not in ideology, then in function.
Martin Luther King knew all to well this same hypocrisy.
“America and most of its newspapers applauded me in Montgomery when I stood before thousands of negroes getting ready to riot when my home was bombed and said “we can’t do it this way”. They applauded us in the sit-in movement when we non-violently decided to sit-in at lunch counters. They applauded us on the freedom rides when we accepted blows without retaliation. Oh the press was noble in its cause, so noble in its praise when I would say “be non-violent toward Bull Connor”. But there is something strangely inconsistent about a nation and a press that will praise you when you say be non-violent toward Jim Clark but will curse and damn you when you say be non-violent toward little brown Vietnamese children. There is something wrong with that press.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Jeh Johnson, one look at your face in this photo tells me you know what you’ve done. Your betrayal goes far beyond silence and it is my hope that in time it will be well-known to all Americans and you will be remembered for it.
This is the speech of a leader. This is the speech of a great American. Accept no substitute for integrity and true conviction.
“Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men, for communists and capitalists, for their children and ours, for black and white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the One who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them?”
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