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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 15, 2006 6:02 AM. The previous post in this blog was Once removed. The next post in this blog is How about it?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Happy birthday


Photo courtesy Miles Hochstein / Portland Ground.
A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life's roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and through their misguided passions urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must not call everyone a Communist or an appeaser who advocates the seating of Red China in the United Nations and who recognizes that hate and hysteria are not the final answers to the problem of these turbulent days. We must not engage in a negative anti-communism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove thosse conditions of poverty, insecurity and injustice which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.

-- April 4, 1967

Comments (16)

Just for fun, try substituting "terrorism" for "communism."

Thank you for that Jack. Eerily appropriate and exceptionally timely.

This is valuable perspective. I've been thinking the last few days what a wretched country this is for my grandchildren to grow up in -- full of hatred, bigotry, violence, greed, poverty, injustice and soulless commerce. Looking back forty years, it's apparent that it's never in my lifetime been anything else. I feel much better now.

America owes a great debt to MLK. He chose non-violent protest. Think of all the groups in the world that have chosen bombings in the past few decades. Think what would have happened in the U.S. if bombs had been used to try to solve the issues. What MLK did took a lot more courage.

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."

What about a nation that spends more on its military, than all the other countries of the world COMBINED?

Thank you Jack. Our true strength is in ideas, not bombs. As King said from the Birmingham jail, "Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood."

Could someone please explain to me why it is, if we are such a vile, evil and bigotted country, that so many people are trying to come here that they are crossing our borders illegally by the thousands each year, in addition to all of those who jump through the hoops to come here legally?

From what I've seen of the history of this country, as far as racism goes, I think we're way better now than we ever have been. There is always room for improvement, there will always be, just as there will always be poverty, thuggery, those who strive to be the best that a person can be and everything inbetween. The task is in staying the course to reduce the bad elements of society while trying to increase the good aspects.
Martin Luther King Jr. did this country a great service during his life. To poo poo the progress we've made since his movement started, as well as the efforts of other people like Rosa Parks is to spit in their faces, and the faces of those of us who refuse to deal with people as white, black, asian, etc. but to deal with them as humans and to judge that human on his or her own actions and words, not on the actions or words of someone else who happens to carry the same amount of melanin in their skin....

Hey, Joanne. I can't tell you why so many want to immigrate here. But I can tell you what MLK seemed to be saying about it. Seems like he was saying that it's because their home countries have been ruined, at least partly by the forces mentioned in the MLK speech that Jack posted here.

"individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries . . . our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America"

Gee, it couldn't be that their own leaders couldn't care less about them could it? The thing that saddens me is that I keep hearing about how we're the bad guys continually, I don't hear anyone talk about any of the good things that have happened in this country exactly because of people like MLK and others. And if another country is treating their people like dirt, the way Mexico does, I hear no protests against that country's administration. The reason that people in Mexico are dirt poor is that the people in power apparently see themselves as the 'landed gentry' and the commoners as serfs to be used and thrown away when they wear out. There is not a company no matter how big or powerful, that could do business in a foreign country without the help of that country's government, and that's a fact.

I don't hear anyone talk about any of the good things that have happened in this country exactly because of people like MLK and others.

The "others" surely don't include the dumb, mean people who control our federal government today.

Luigi Barzini, an Italian correspondent, wrote a book called The Europeans, which included as the last chapter The Baffling Americans. In that chapter he said:

"There is, of course, not one answer to the question What is the United States? but many answers, most of them almost true, all of them demonstrably true, all of them confusing. The United States is as many things as there are vantage points, many sometimes in rapid succession, and often many at the same time, some them puzzlingly contradictory and irreconcilable."

If you are predetermined to see a US, like Alan, that is wretched, you will only see the hated, bigotry, violence, and greed. On the other hand, if a person like Ron sees a country that is valiant, then he or she will see the heroism and selfless service that many citizen soldiers have given in the name of their country.

However, our culture and nation is incredibly more complex than either view gives credit. The United States is idealistic and pragmatic, religious and secular, capitalistic and philanthropic. It is both immensely heroic and horribly tragic.

In politics, each of us prefers one nature to the other and as time goes on, we become more vested in our own preferred vision of our country. General Shinseki said the problem is when people start believing their own bumper stickers.

What gets lost, however, in the discussion is that we forget that democracy works because it is larger than the sum of each of the parts. In the execution of debate, disagreement and opposition are healthy. But at the end of the day when we don't get our way, we should appreciate that the system works and ultimately is self-correcting.

I get a little worried about the "self-correcting" potential when the people in power are suspending habeas corpus, wiretapping phones and computers without the necessary legal authorization, torturing people, giving the finger to international law, and running a prison camp in Cuba. At a certain point, we're not going back.

It remains self-correcting. The consequences of our current policies is a different topic.

The problem with our administration is it does not "get" the big picture. They think the big picture is that we neutralize terrorists (death or otherwise). They do not understand that the means we use to fight terrorism defines us as a people, which ultimately is more important to long term success.

You're in good company. Happy Birthday!


"I get a little worried about the "self-correcting" potential when the people in power are suspending habeas corpus, wiretapping phones and computers without the necessary legal authorization, torturing people, giving the finger to international law, and running a prison camp in Cuba. At a certain point, we're not going back"

Add to that list (up at the top) that these people came to power without actually being elected.


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Road Work

Miles run year to date: 212
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Total run in 2013: 257
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In 2006: 100
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