True Power

True Power

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Cry For Change Continues

In the book Judgment Days the author writes about the 1960’s, a time of social and political turbulence. CHANGE was being demanded from those faced with the indignities of being denied the right to vote, toe eat in restaurants, to use public restrooms, to hold a job, and to choose a dwelling place and not be judged on the color of their skin, origin of ancestry, or gender.

The cry for CHANGE demanded a leader able to organize and represent the people. A Baptist preacher trained in philosophy and theology would be the one to answer the people’s cry. Martin Luther King Jr. would come to symbolize a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love. His wise choice of true pacifism was met with resistance, but when scenes were shown on national television of black protestors kneeling, praying, and singing while whites yelled, spat, and threw objects or beat them, the civil rights movement gained sympathy and support from fair-minded citizens across the country.

King knew the movement of the masses was about more than one man-one person. It was a protest of the people who were tired of their rights being trampled. He knew injustice anywhere was a threat to justice everywhere.

An August 28th march, organized by King, of 200,000 Americans in Washington, D.C. was the backdrop for King’s famous I have A Dream speech. This is the same march that would inspire the legendary composer and singer Sam Cook to write A Change Is Coming. This song would be played for over a week following the election of America’s first African American President elect, Barack Obama.

King pressed forward when opposition leaders said “You are moving too fast” or when relatively moderate local white clergy called his protests “unwise” and “untimely.” His reply: “Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say ‘Wait.’” This is the same sentiment argued when then Senator Barack Obama decided to run for president. King addressed a question posed to the movement, “When will you be satisfied?” in his I Have A Dream speech he answered: “…not until America is a nation where all citizens could come together in a society of equal opportunity in which differences of race, religion, national origin and region were no longer barriers to brotherhood and peace.”

King lived to see the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act passed. He believed both Acts would establish a solid basis of legal equality for Black Americans, but more needed to be done. His civil rights goals evolved into class and economic issues. He was trying to put together a populist coalition in which poor blacks, whites, Mexican Americans, and Native Americans could seek to transform the economy. This populist coalition would address the problems of unemployment, inadequate education, job training, housing, and health care; problems reminiscent of today and challenges facing President Obama. Martin Luther King did not live to see such an America.

It is clear the Civil Rights Movement led by King, demanded by the masses, directly influenced and inspired future protests against the Vietnam War, equal rights for women and older workers, rights for the handicapped, and the struggle overseas for human rights. Before his death King prophetically claimed he had been to the mountain top- he had seen the promised land.

His service and sacrifice of life must continue to inspire the masses to work toward the dream of ‘Justice for all’ whether they are able to live to see it come to pass or not. The people’s cry for CHANGE, echoes on, always waiting for a symbolic leader to answer. The attack is on ignorance, discrimination, poverty, and disease; not on a particular people.

Flags of the United Nations

Today I say thank you to all the courageous Indians, Mexicans, Caucasians, Blacks and every other ethnic group who joined the cry for change through the years. Today in the 21st century, there is a different cry. "Let them Die. It's Capitalism at its best" is the new cry from the masses.

As King knew, when the scenes of suffering plays out on national television, love will win. When people rant, spit curse, and insight violence in the name of conservatism or religion, however it is dressed, love will prevail. As people say health care will kill grandmother denying her a hip replacement which cannot happen, but the poor should not enter into the hospital doors is just desserts for those unable to afford health care, plays out before cameras, love will prevail.

Justice cannot be stopped by political leaders, psuedo-Christian leaders, or any other opposer. Injustice will always fail. Dignity of humanity will prevail. Label things that we hate as Socialism, Communism or any other 'ism' people will not allow their rights to be trampled without a cry for CHANGE and there will always be someone to answer the call.

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