Monday, January 18, 2010

For MLK Day

You could do worse than to check out the well-chosen excerpts from his "Beyond Vietnam" and "I Have Been to the Mountaintop" speeches at Democracy Now!, Joseph Stiglitz's new piece on "Moral Bankruptcy" at Mother Jones, and Noam Chomsky's overview of the last two centuries of Haiti's politico-economic history (nine segments) from his Year 501. The latter two echo in their ways the same thoughts as the climactic moments of "Beyond Vietnam":

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

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 comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

Something tells me that Pat Robertson could not say these words without his tongue catching on fire.

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