Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What Would Martin Luther King Jr. Say?

Ron Paul recently posted a video in a post titled "Violence in Baltimore: What Would Would MLK Say?"

It was kinda lukewarm to say the least. A couple of old white guys with axes to grind. Smart white guys, yes... but they came off as a little clueless even if they made some very astute observations.

It got me thinking, though. What would MLK say?

I think he would say something like this.
"The media is calling this a riot.

"They do not understand.

"The politicians are blaming you for destroying your own homes and what few economic opportunities your communities offer.

"They do not understand.

"The village elders are dismissing you as thugs. 
"They do not understand. 
"I understand.

"I understand what it is to be so filled with rage that I cannot see past my desire to lash out. I understand what it's like to be told I must make my own way in a community where there ARE NO economic opportunities. I understand what it is to be stopped... to be searched... to be beaten... to be murdered for the color of my skin. 
"I understand that days melt into months, months melt into years, years melt into decades and nothing ever seems to change.

"I understand that a police officer, bound as he is to serve and protect, cannot serve and protect you because all he sees is the color of your skin and that alone is enough to make you a suspect. 
"I understand. 
"I understand that they have taken your power. They have left you feeling hopeless and without a future. 
"I understand what the media, and the politicians and the village elders do not. I understand that this is not a riot. 
"I understand that the economic opportunities the politicians are accusing you of destroying are like the lotteries they let you play and the liquor they let you buy and the cigarettes they let you slowly kill yourselves with; they are all lies. 
"I understand that you are not thugs. You are young men and women; you are American boys and girls, just like them, but driven to the edge of hopelessness and despair. 
"I understand that all you want to do is take your power back. 
"I understand.
"But I also understand that the power you think you are claiming for yourselves is ALSO a lie. 
"Burning police cars does not give you power. It gives THEM power. Killing and maiming police officers does not give you power. It gives them power. Burning down or robbing shops does not give you power. It gives THEM power. 
"You are not challenging their lies, you are feeding them. And when this is over they will continue to gun down and pack their prisons with your children, and they will blame you. Then they will turn off their TV's and they will sleep soundly.
"But there is another way. 
"I will not tell you to go home. I will not tell you to trust the system that we ALL know we cannot trust. I will not tell you to submit... or to surrender... or to give the liars another chance to soothe your rage with more empty promises. 
"We have already tried that. Too many times." 
"If you truly have the courage to stand up to these liars... to these thieves of life... to the dogs and the guns and the body armor and the gas... then put down your rocks RIGHT now. Look to your brothers and sisters around you. Take each others hands and sit right where you are. Wherever you are. Do not be moved but by force and when they come for you... and they will come for you... accept their cruelty and do not break. 
"That is real courage. 
"And when the liars turn on their TVs tonight they will not see the police waging a noble stand against thugs. They won't see lawless savages being meted out justice. They will see children being herded into squad cars and police wagons. They will see mothers and sons, and fathers and daughters... they will see tears. They will what we really are and through us they will see what they really are
"And they will not sleep so soundly."
Of course, I am just an old white guy with an ax to grind.