TRANSCENDING PLATITUDES : MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. AND THE CO-OPTION OF HIS DREAM
“Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.” – M.L.K.
By Led Black
Martin Luther King Jr. was so much more than his “I have a dream” speech but that is the only aspect of his legacy that his corporate sponsors are comfortable with. Martin like Jesus has been co-opted by the very same people who crucified him. Martin was more than a dreamer he was a redeemer sent by the almighty, America’s last chance of salvation before the coming apocalypse. Martin’s stated goal was “To save the soul of America”. In some ways he failed but he died fighting for his convictions.
Martin Luther King Jr. was truly a man of Christ unlike these so-called Christians you see on TV today, i.e. Bush, Pat Robertson and so on. In this day and age, the ones who are the biggest proponents for war, death and destruction proudly proclaim themselves as Christians. They see no disconnect between the philosophy of Christ and the utter devastation and ruin they’re inflicting on others – 650,000 Iraqis dead so far and that is a conservative estimate. If Martin were alive today he would be against this war and the majority of this country would be against him. Martin was too pure and too good for such hypocrites and backbiters.
As a teenager in High School I was very much the staunch but narrow Black Nationalist. Malcolm X was the standard by which I measured manhood. King was okay but my anger and resentment against the powers that be didn’t allow me to be a proponent of “turning the other cheek”. To me that was a sign of weakness but my limited intellect and understanding of King could not grasp the significance of his mission. In retrospect, I now see Martin not as soft but as a messenger of god’s love for humanity and an instrument for change.
Martin’s anti-war stance was the nail in his coffin. The fact that the Nobel laureate was against the war was too much for those in power. Martin saw the Vietnam War for what it was – an unjust war whose tremendous burden was carried mostly by the poor at home and abroad. Can anyone say Iraq? Almost 1 million Vietnamese and 50,000 Americans died before the US pulled out and for what, today North and South Vietnam are united as a single communist regime.
Another troubling development was discussed in a piece I read awhile back in the LA Times. Apparently, the Bush administration has been buying the support of Black pastors under the guise of funding faith-based programs. They know that by paying for the allegiance of the pastor they get the support of his congregants. It’s the oldest trick in the book but with a new twist. I call it the neo-preacher pork chop maneuver. Martin was cut from a different cloth. He could not be bought and he followed his conscience to wherever it led him, even death. He knew of his certain demise and embraced his calling unflinchingly. Freedom or death!