As our nation designated today to honor the memory and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, it seems appropriate to reflect on how far we have come since his time, and yet how far we still have to go. Although the blatant institutionalized segregation challenged by Dr. King has disappeared, much of what he tried to teach us is still falling on deaf ears.
As our elected and other leaders take advantage of photo opportunities while giving lip service to Dr. King’s memory, they continue with policies that make a mockery of his principles of justice, equality, and non-violence. Economic policy continues to favor the already-favored at the expense of the less fortunate. Minorities and economicaly disadvantaged individuals continue to get shafted by the criminal justice system. Inequities in the system for funding public education provide fewer resources to those who need them most.
And the current resident of the White House continues to insist on starting a war which Dr. King certainly would oppose, considering his strong opposition to the Vietnam war at a time when such a stance was not popular. Most wars are inherently racist, based on the concept that it’s okay to slaughter members of another population. W’s war on Iraq is a perfect example. Surveys show that many of those who support military action against Iraq incorrectly believe that Iraq was somehow involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. It’s the old “they all look alike” syndrome; we’re going to attack someone whose crime is having skin close to the same color as those who attacked us.
Happy Birthday, Dr. King. Look how far we’ve come.