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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Martin Luther King, Jr: 5 Quotes to A Better Understanding

Tomorrow (or today based on when you read this) is the official holiday celebrating Martin Luther King.    

And in remembrance of the event and of him, we thought we'd share 5 of his quotes which have impressed us the most and why so.   

This posting was originally written last year but today we've expanded upon it in parts and modified in other areas

These aren't the super-famous quotations that everyone knows such as the "I Have A Dream..." speech or 'Free at Last!' but still have importance and meaning both in understanding King and his vision, and were either spoken or written by the man.

* Dr. King's quotations in blue font
“And one day we must ask the question, "Why are there forty million poor people in America?" And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy.” 

We as a nation love to place Dr King on a mantle and focus Only on all the things he spoke about concerning love vs hate, peace & non-violence and racial equality.  

And because we're a cowardly politically-correct bean counting society, we as a nation prefer treating a once living breathing man like a caricature to fit whatever purposes we need him to serve for our own immediate interests (politicians do this especially)

But Dr. King also addressed poverty and the economic model for this nation; how capitalism (which really for the last century has increasingly become corporation-centric), deprives those who do not wish to pursue that life the economic means to better oneself. 
And how in the process the system controls how one is to successfully make a living (Ex: must get a degree i.e. get Heavily in debt to have any chance to 'make it') and making so many people fully dependent upon government for their financial survival due to Intentional lack of opportunity, curtails freedom.

Individuality is also controlled-- in the US and other capitalistic economies as much as those communist.  Debt is slavery and the more indebted one is to others, the less freedom and less personal choice.

In short, Martin Luther King Jr was Not a capitalist and did not embrace nor support the economic model of the US government when alive and he sure as shit wouldn't be embracing the current construct today..  

So if you believe deeply in King's words on social equality and choose to ignore his economic message  while celebrating the strength of banks, the Fed and the wealthy, you're a bit of a hypocrite because to the Reverend, the battles for racial and economic equality were one and the same.
“We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” 

In the film "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan", , Mr Spock opined  'The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one'..  As much as we at A&G are Trekkies, Spock was 100% dead wrong.

The Individual takes superiority over the collective.  We like King believe people are more important than corporations, and the Individual more important than the populace.

We like King also believe in Individual identity and thought.. Individual values and spirituality.. and we believe no one else, No other person or group of people have the right to control or curtail another Individual's Life, Liberty or Pursuit of Happiness, even if under the cloak or ruse of a greater "common" good.

King believed in individual success and achievement and did not accept this mindset prevalent in the black community that it was the responsibility of Individual blacks who achieved success to pull up with them those who choose not to stand up on their own.
“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.” 

For such a very short quote, it says a lot of truth.  Hitler may have took over the rest of Europe by trickery, coercion and eventually force, but in Germany he and his political party were elected into office by majority of the German citizens. 

It first started by a small delegation of Hitler's Nazi Party being elected into their congress called the Reichstag then gaining members in subsequent elections until eventually Hitler himself entered office by the ballot box.

And thus every act of control instituted by Hitler.. whether it be state control of corporations, book burnings, the social ostracization and eventual extermination of Jews, or depriving its citizenry of the right to bear arms were legally executed.
In other words. not all elections are valid, not all elected officials should really be in office, and just because laws are made and passed by Presidents and elected members of Congress do not mean they should be respected.  

Sometimes the patriotic action is civil disobedience.

Never forget that about Dr King.. He didn't just utter speeches at pleasant cadences.  He like Gandhi who inspired him, took his enemies head-on and understood what buttons to push to provoke confrontation and in the process won the public-relations battle vs the government he was fighting

To admire King isn't to sit on your ass and focus inwardly..  It is to seek out injustice, especially economic disparity and power of the wealthy, organize and seek to right the wrongs.
“I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed, without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today – my own government.” 

Many people may choose or wish to see that quote as something dated i.e. specific only to the life and times of Dr King... That somehow such a quote doesn't apply today..

We believe those people utterly and completely wrong.

We at A&G think of this quote after a 13 year and counting war on Terror costing the US Treasury untold Trillions in dollars, and thousands of lives..  The NSA spying and other unconstitutional acts upon our privacy validated by the Patriot Act

 We think how the Occupy Movement was systematically crushed a couple years back by the various police across the country; mere puppets to the Office of Homeland Security who orchestrated it..

When one moves in a circle yet stands in place, how much Progress was really made?
“Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.” 

There is an ongoing academic and spiritual 'war' in America where those who embrace science tend to be atheist or agnostic; who look upon religion and God snidely as something invented to keep the people controlled over thousands of years.

And there's an element of faith-based people who called themselves Creationists who take a very specific, literal interpretation of the Bible.  

For example, they believe the world was created in six literal days and all of human existence is merely a few thousand years, whereas many would question such a strictly specific belief.

We agree with Dr King --there needs not be a war between the two.  
If one believes God created everything in the universe, then He created science as well.  And for the power of science to answer the questions of the cosmos and the biological question of why we exist, it can never begin to ask the question of the moral/ethical 'why do we exist'. 

We are a nation that takes a perverse pride in publicly posturing that we're atheist or agnostic and enjoy trampling on the rights of those who openly practice faith (Jews, Christians, Muslims, etc) especially during holidays while hiding behind banner of secularism.

Dr King would have looked upon those people with a hard, critical eye.  He probably would have forgiven them but he wouldn't have admired or respected them.
For all the streets and parks named and statues erected in his honor, Martin Luther King Jr is more and more forgotten as time passes.  People only see what they want to see and use his memory to fit their worldview.

Dr King was not a fictional character written up by sloppy, slovenly dressed screenwriters on a Hollywood back lot.   And his life was supposed to be more than an excuse for stores to discount 25% on clothing and towels.

But to truly embrace the man you must understand the totality; his thoughts and worldview and not the narrow little slice the educational system allowed you to know..
King was a fighter.. a rebel.. a revolutionary.

He was not milquetoast.. And if anyone really wishes to be like the man, they'll pay attention to what's going on in this government from Presidency to Federal Reserve to Congress and not be so milquetoast either.

~ We will return on Tuesday 1/21...