Saturday, January 15, 2011

MARTIN LUTHER KING AND THE SENSELESS ACT OF VIOLENCE






There are many things I can say about Dr. King that does not only speak to his involvement in the civil rights movement, but to the core of the man. His leadership and love of his immediate family, wife and children, are but a dream for many. His lust for education and his numerous degrees speaks volumes. His devout "though" faith, A PERMANENT AND LASTING FAITH; a faith that required a belief in God even THOUGH things may not go his desired way - not IF all goes well- is the foundation of a man that cannot be moved.

What about a time called now?


This is a time of shame and sorrow. It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity, my only event of today, to speak briefly to you about the mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.

It is not the concern of any one race. The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one - no matter where he lives or what he does - can be certain who next will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on and on in this country of ours.

Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by an assassin's bullet.

No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason.

Whenever any American's life is taken by another American unnecessarily - whether it is done in the name of the law or in defiance of the law, by one man or by a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence - whenever we tear at the fabric of our lives which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, whenever we do this then the whole nation is degraded.

"Among free men," said Abraham Lincoln, "there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs."

Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far-off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire whatever weapons and ammunition they desire.


Too often we honor swagger and bluster and the wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of other human beings. Some Americans who preach non-violence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them.


Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our souls.

For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.

This is the breaking of a man's spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man among other men. And this too afflicts us all.

I have not come here to propose a set of specific remedies nor is there a single set. For a broad and adequate outline we know what must be done. For when you teach a man to hate and to fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies that he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your home or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies, to be met not with cooperation but with conquest; to be subjugated and to be mastered.

We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens. Alien men with whom we share a city, but not a community; men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in a common effort. We learn to share only a common fear, only a common desire to retreat from each other, only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this, there are no final answers.

Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question is not what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of humane purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.

We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of others. We must admit in ourselves that our own children's future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge.

Our lives on this planet are too short. The work to be done is too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in this land of ours. Of course we cannot banish it with a program, nor with a resolution.

But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment that they can.

Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goals, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at the least, to look around at those of us of our fellow man, and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our hearts brothers and countrymen once again. - Robert F Kennedy, April 5, 1968, the day after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.





9 comments:

BigmacInPittsburgh said...

There is a lot of competition for the minds of people today in the American society.
What you are preaching my friend should be basic common sense.
But as we both know that ain't being taught today neither at home or school.
Until people like yourself and I figure out how to get peoples attention to the game being run on them,I'm afraid it will be business as usually in America.

And by the way Carey thanks for visiting my site and leaving some very thoughtful comments.

Moanerplicity said...

Sup Carey:

I'm glad you chose to use a quote of his. We can learn so much about this man when we allow ourselves to revisit her words, his thoughts, his speeches, & his core philosophy.

Not only was he brilliant, brave, a revolutionary, saved, a humanist, a lover of his kind & of all mankind, but he also had the mighty voice of God in him. I firmly believe Dr. King was doing what he'd come here to do. He was very aware of the danger in it, & yet his righteous heart did not allow him to detour, or deviate from his path.

That's love. That's commitment. That's Purpose!

Happy Natal Day, Dr. King!


One Love.

CareyCarey said...

@ Big Mac, no, thank you for allowing me to spread the message.

I am in the process of writing a piece that speaks to what you said about getting peoples attention.

Title: Are We Always Preaching To The Choir?

@ Moan, actually, the speech was Robert Kennedy's. The opening was thoughts I had after listening to one of MLK speeches. And, whenever I go to a King Day Celebration, I hear words of his place in the civil rights movement, but as I noted, that's the lest of what he's meant to me. But yeah, in said speech, he spoke of a "though" faith and an "if" faith. He also spoke of why a person should do the right thang. Basically, he said it's right to do right. Not if everyone else is doing this & that,then it must be right. Nope, it does not work like that.

Moanerplicity said...

Ummm... Thanks for that CAREYfication, mane. (smiles)

Meanwhile, I hope & pray things are looking up on that other matter.


One.

Black Diaspora said...

Kennedy's words are so rich with wisdom and a deep insight into the human condition, that a response would appear superfluous.

Here's a comment that I left at From My Brown Eyed View to a video featured there. In the video, Dr. Ball discusses those aspects of Dr. King's life and positions that are seldom discussed or considered.

This picture drawn of Dr. King in the video is the Martin Luther King, Jr., that I know, and remember, but we must be careful here: Dr. King was a revolutionary, true, but not in the violent sense that the word denotes, and connotes.

What he advocated was a "radical revolution of values," a "sudden and momentous change" of those values, but not in a wishful, hopeful manner, but in a confrontational and aggressive manner, where we engage the opposition--where the opposition is challenged to reflect upon itself, and in that reflection see the harsh reality of their brutal, and hurtful actions, and take the hard, arduous steps toward a reformation that would lead to rectification.

True, his language was that of a revolutionary, painfully aware of the spirit of sacrifice that was required ("Give me liberty or give me death.") to effect the change that this nation and the world so desperately needed if real, and lasting progress was to be made.

King knew that hearts must be overthrown and not governments, that evil must be met, and resisted, on the battlefields of the mind, not with brutish, physical force, but with moral courage and integrity, with the fortitude of goodness, and the weapons of persistence in the face of a seemingly implacable enemy.

To defeat the triune evil of "racism, militarism, and economic exploitation," all three operating essentially as one, each existing because of the other, he called for a revolution, a spiritual "hostility" that would replace "racism" with a spiritual brotherhood, "economic exploitation," with a spiritual capitalism and "militarism" with a spiritual warfare.

Unlike many of our black leaders today, and those they shepherd, King fully expected them and us to agitate as warriors until hearts were changed or conditions ameliorated.


This was our moral imperative!

CareyCarey said...

@ Black Diaspora, thanks for your comment. It was very thought provoking. In fact, I used a few of your words in my latest post.

@ Moan, thanks man, and yes, the eagle landed 3 states from here. "It's" presently being detained but we're working on it's safe return.

In this case the system worked. I submitted my paperwork and 4 hours later I received a phone call.

2cute4u said...

I meant there was a post that you put up a few short stories and I indicated the one I like and you suggested you could send me the whole of it to read if I wanted..

CareyCarey said...

@ 2Cute4you, yeah, okay, now how do you wish to do this? You can hit my e-mail or post an address. Or both.

2cute4u said...

Don't stay in the US;
My email address is:
fit2bimi@yahoo.co.uk