Friday, April 04, 2008
Today was the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King's assassination, the third public murder of an American leader within a five year span, probably with the connivance of J. Edgar Hoover, the poisonous director of the FBI, according to my friend SFWillie (click here for his J'Accuse).
Gandhi and his philosophy of nonviolence was always one of King's major influences, but when the media retrospectives are revved up on anniversaries like today and King's birthday, they tend to focus on race rather than nonviolence.
This is partly because many racial attitudes have changed, while American militarism in its quest to retain empire is sadly unchanged from King's time, as Iraq clearly demonstrates. This is King on the subject of Vietnam soon before he was murdered: "God didn’t call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war . . .We’ve committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world."
And this little zinger: "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."
For a good article on the subject, check out Jeff Cohen's "40 Years Later..." (click here), and to continue King's work, I highly recommend spending a little time with the old, nonviolent secular saints in front of the Federal Building on Golden Gate Avenue every Thursday at noon.