Monday, January 17, 2011

As Poor Get Poorer King's Legacy Needs Rekindling

As America commemorates, or in some states tolerates, the birthday of arguably the greatest American of the 20th century--Dr. Martin Luther King--the past few years has shown that the advancement of African-Americans and the poor, in general, have been merely cosmetic.

First, this national holiday in honor Dr. King should not be characterized as a "black" holiday as it is too often. The vision of Dr. King was, indeed racial harmony and equality for all blacks, but also and specifically for the poorest and indigent of Americans.

This overlooked aspect of Dr. King's beliefs--ideas he died fighting for--have not been realized, but a gap between rich and poor has widened greatly. Often we attempt to guess how historically figures would react to current events. How would the Founding Fathers view the Second Amendment today? How would John Lennon respond to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? What would Martin Luther King think of our society today? He would not be very happy.

The working poor in America has grown exponentially since the late 1960s and President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. As we stand today, the minimum wage has not increased in nearly 10 years. Corporations are cutting pensions for loyal retirees and health benefits are non-existent. America still functions with inequities in health care even has reform will soon make it somewhat more manageable. People get sick and fall into deeper despair.

For those unfortunate and few, the mounting debt and tension rises with no end. This past year, the Republican Congress made it harder for Americans to file for bankruptcy. There is no second chance in America, especially when it's their money, yet many chances when it comes to the bankers doling out the cash at exorbitant interest rates.

But, should we expect anything different? This is, after all, the same government that spied on and sought to end Dr. King's dream, if they didn't literally, with a bullet. And their dream to rid the country's conscienceness of his noble deeds is still with us today.

An assault on Dr. King's legacy surrounds us everyday. This day, as mentioned before, is dismissed by too many as a black struggle . Popular culture is devoid of anything related to Dr. King. Have you ever noticed there has never been a big-budget Hollywood biopic about Dr. King? Why is that? Hollywood can make one for Malcolm X and Ray Charles, but can't tell the heroic and fascinating story of a Southern preacher changing the way American lived together?

It's just a day now for politicians across the land to make typically reverential, but empty remarks about his legacy. Gov. Jerry Brown today lauded King's legacy in the same week he sought to dramatically cut state programs for the poorest in California along with throwing monkey wrench into the ability for cities to build affordable housing for their residents.

The past decade has weathered an assault to the issues that Dr. King stood for and today. We nee to rekindle the fervor and enlightenment that he stoked in America over 40 years ago. Essentially, this day is about remembering to help weakest among us first and those with all the means to survive second and third.

POLITICS HOMEGROWN www.eastbaycitizen.com


  1. Tolerance and Acceptance are the message of MLK. Are you turning over a new leaf Steve? Are you now eschewing the conservative attitudes of your sidekick? Are you finally coming out against the genocide in Darfur and other places? Are you standing up against the war in Afghanistan? Are you supporting the efforts for maintaining the working poor and speaking out against the corporations and unions that keep out minorities? Are you standing up for discrimination against those without immigration papers? Are you espousing universal health care? Are you speaking out against the tyranny of the Patriot Act? That would be the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King. Mel

  2. I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about? I'm Steve, the liberal one. You have me confused with the other guy

  3. Right, liberal. Supplier of platform to Pareja and Baker, despoiler of Stark and denouncer of Corbett and Hayashi. Advocate for the rape of Eden Healthcare and opponent of the CMI. Show some stones. After this you will start to censor the voice, much as you backed off Craig in favor of the rabid Nick and Manuel. Mel

  4. Steve, all you need to do is to listen to the rattling of your late podcast to hear where you are really coming from. Sorry, but no liberal heard there either. Mel

  5. Steve-O...if I didnt know you for the past 20 years, I wouldn't even bother with you; I'd have more respect for my bathmat...but because you make sense, unlike the rabid (or is it rabies) Mel, you give your side a point of view.

    Sybil, whoops, I mean Mel attacks her own ideologies, which is common of a liberal schizophrenic, and does no good attacking a member of her own party just because you don't approve of Haywishi-washy at all, are skeptical of Stark and may I say, have never once bad mouthed Corbett (Mel must be toking the medical stuff).

    Press on brother...

    Mel, still, I insist you find a hobby. You DON'T have to listen to us.

    To stay on topic...I did my part yesterday, I helped at an animal shelter that gave free vaccinations to dogs. It was me who suggested all black dogs go first.

  6. Nicky boy, missed you so much. Steve, good to see that you have gone back and unleashed your boy. Glad you helped at the shelter, Nick, was that up at Fairmount which is closed now? Or were you over at Dusty Paws in Castro Valley feeling sorry for the abandoned puppies? Or were you out campaigning for Michael Vick or against Michael Vick. Mel

  7. Hey Sybil...thanks, they miss you at the East Bay ASPCA. Glad I made your new year.

  8. Steve...break out the crayons and hand puppets, looks like you need to dumb it down for the old girl.

  9. Mel you smelly old cougar, quit cyber stalking Nicky, you're not his type. I'm sure he can find someone a hell of a lot younger than your barren desert.

  10. Hey Tavares, this article sucked.