It’s been 43 years since the assassination of the great Martin Luther King Jr., who once said that “nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
Amen to that.
The inspirational leader and speaker also stated that “the more there are riots, the more repressive action will take place and the more we face the danger of a right-wing takeover and eventually a fascist society.”
While I sincerely hope that’s not the case nowadays – what with the escalating violence in Libya and the Middle East – it seems more and more like governments the world over are more concerned with money, power and holding their citizens in a fear-induced, hostage state of mind.
Maybe that’s taking it a little too far, but then again, maybe not.
Which got me to thinking, what would Dr. King think of our current situation here in the good-old United States of America, if he were still alive today? On one hand, I can only imagine the pride he would have felt following the election of our first African American president, something I was quite proud of myself back in 2008. At the same time, I’m fairly certain that particular victory would in no way stem his disappointment in our continued warmongering in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Yes, you read that right, I said warmongering.
It’s only my opinion, but it seems blatantly obvious that we’re not there for the cause of freedom, and every day it becomes clearer that we never were. We’re there for oil – and for profit – plain and simple. It’s actually quite depressing when you think about it, but in situations such as these, one can typically search for whomever will benefit the most from any given action and then determine, with a fair amount of accuracy, why they took that action in the first place.
Just follow the money.
Libya, I’ll admit, I can’t quite figure out. The notion that we’re helping an oppressed people – seeking democracy – certainly appeals to my sense of what’s right. But ask yourself this – where were we (not to mention our allies) when tens of thousands of innocent people were being brutalized and murdered in Darfur over the last decade?
The answer to that question could be quite simple, I imagine. Maybe there’s just not a whole lot of oil in central Africa’s Sudan region, or enough profit to justify an end to the genocide that was taking place there.
It’s almost funny – in a dark and depressing kind of way – just how easily we, as Americans, allow ourselves to be duped into thinking exactly what those in power want us to think. War is less about freedom – at least most of the time – than it is about power or profit ... or both. Take any confrontation over the last, oh, couple of thousand years or so and try to tell me any different.
Personally, I don’t think you can.
It seems to me that inspirational speakers such as Dr. King are now a relic of the past, which is frustrating to say the least. As a people, we just don’t seem to have the kind of compassion and commitment to freedom that he portrayed. Of course, that was a different time. But if you look close enough, you can draw any number of comparisons between then and now.
In the end, it’s a well known fact that history is typically written by the victor, meaning the truth is often, how shall I say, tweaked, if not ignored completely. I’ll admit there are exceptions but again, in my opinion, they’re few and far between.
Dr. King said that “a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom,” and added, “have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies, or else? The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”
Even after 43 years his words still ring of truth, liberty, freedom, goodwill and, most of all, wisdom.
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