Monday, January 15, 2007

Who Will Ask Today?

On the 17th of May 1957, in an address to the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom, Martin Luther King said,

"...we come to Washington today pleading with the president and members of Congress to provide a strong, moral, and courageous leadership for a situation that cannot permanently be evaded....The hour is late. The clock of destiny is ticking out. We must act now, before it is too late." [Full text]

Although Dr. King was talking about civil rights then, if he were speaking today, he might say the same thing about the current situation in Iraq. King's views on the Vietnam war are well known, although over quoted [Text and audio here]. However, we can infer that it is likely that he would have opposed the war in Iraq.

Opposition to war is not the only important issue here though. Although the civil rights situation in the U.S. has improved, it is still far from perfect. There is currently also another malaise.

Recruiters for the military often target lower income neighborhoods, as being their most fertile recruiting grounds. In a way, this makes sense, given their goals. Kids from affluent neighborhoods are less likely to need jobs, or money for college. However, a consequence of this is that it is the poor kids, of all races, who get to do most of the dying in the war.

The questions for today though are, who will stand up for these people? Who has the oratory and the leadership skills to ask for sanity, and be heard, on the topic of the Iraq war? Who will oppose the madness of Whitehouse policy? Who will stand up for the people who are paying the price for the war, with their bodies and lives? Why is there no such leader today?

As we wait for a leader, it is fitting that we remember Dr. Martin Luther King. Were he alive today, there is little doubt that he would have taken up, and been effective, in such a leadership role. Who today can lead us out of this mad war?

The CP

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