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Monday, January 17, 2005


So happy birthday, Martin (pretend today is January 15th).  Would that we had your moral clarity and courageous voice today as we sink further into our Iraqi quagmire:

The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways.
We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The "tide in the affairs of men" does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: "Too late." There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on..." We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.

We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world -- a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.

Amen.  I wish BushCo and its apologists didn't pretend that MLK's words have no relevance today.


PS--King's 1967 "Beyond Vietnam" speech made him quite unpopular with J Edgar Hoover and the NAACP, amongst others.  Speaking truth to power often rubs people the wrong way, it seems.

[Update: Democracy Now! dedicated today's show to MLK and has audio of Beyond Vietnam amongst other things.  Hat tip to Washington Monthly reader enozinho.]

January 17, 2005 | Permalink


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» Martin Luther King Day from A Tiny Revolution
Bob Harris beat me to just about everything I was going to say about Martin Luther King. It's no accident that everyone talks about King's "I Have A Dream" speech, while throwing "Beyond Vietnam" (also known as "A Time to... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 17, 2005 5:22:15 PM


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