Remembering Dr. King 50 Years Later

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military
defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death”
On April 4th, 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. publicly spoke out against
the war in Vietnam. Exactly one year later, he was assassinated. He had
long understood the connection between war abroad, and extreme poverty and
inequality at home. However, he had bitten his tongue for years not
wanting to lose support for the civil rights movement, but he realized
that he couldn’t live with himself if he remained silent, and that he was
failing in his role as a Christian. He lost friends, support, and his
access to President Johnson, but his conscience was clear. He placed truth
above appeasement. He broke his silence.

King said the war in Vietnam was not the problem, it was, “but a symptom
of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this
sobering reality, we will find ourselves organizing ‘clergy and laymen
concerned’ committees for the next generation. We will be marching and
attending rallies without end, unless there is a significant and profound
change in American life and policy.” That change never came, and that
malady has only gotten worse in the fifty years since his death. Though we
have seen a black president, unarmed black people are still being killed
by the police with impunity. For millions living in poverty and in prison,
and for those we call ‘collateral damage’ overseas, Obama was just another
president. He was at the helm of an empire, wearing Caesar’s clothes like
Bush before him, and Trump after.

America has military personnel stationed in over 150 countries, not
counting Hawaii. We’re engaged in combat in about a dozen, not counting
over 80 countries where special forces are carrying out missions. As Dr.
King said, “I knew America would never invest the necessary funds or
energies in rehabilitation of it’s poor so long as adventures like Vietnam
continued to draw men, skills, and money like some demonic destructive
suction tube.”

Remember King’s words as you prepare your taxes. Think about what you’re
actually paying for. Over half of federal taxes go to the military. Since
9/11, the wars have cost over 5 TRILLION dollars, and well over a million
innocent lives. Consider using your money to support programs of social
uplift instead. Consider tax-resistance. Visit WarResisters.Org to learn


About soitgoes1984

I live on a small island in the middle of the Pacific ocean in the Hawaiian Kingdom which is currently illegally occupied by the American government. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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