Thoughts About MLK Jr’s Vietnam Speech 50 Years Later

Fifty years ago, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at Riverside Church in New York City. He spoke out against the war in Vietnam. Now, his contemporaries within the civil rights movement were hesitant about Dr. King speaking out against the war. They thought that by speaking out against the government, against the Johnson administration, Dr. King would hurt the civil rights movement.

I was unfamiliar with this speech until a few days ago. After reading it, I’m struck by how relevant this speech is for today’s audience. Replace the word “Vietnam” with ISIL or the vague “terrorist” and Dr. King could be talking about the here and now.

I fear that, under the Trump regime, people are so focused on the threat of terrorism that we ignore the real problems. Dr. King said “I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So, I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor.”

I haven’t written about OrangeAsshole lately. Every day I wake up to another nightmarish scenario and I don’t know how to write about it. OrangeAsshole’s proposed budget would cut funding for all the things that truly make America great and funding will be funneled into the military.

Right now OrangeAsshole has us duped into thinking that undocumented citizens are out to destroy us and that we need to build a wall and restrict immigration from certain countries. It’s classic bait and switch. Get people talking about that so they’ll ignore the Russian hacking controversy.

It’s sad to me, fifty years later, the antics remain.

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