Riverside — Dr. Martin Luther King’s Legacy Went Sideways
Fifty years ago today Martin Luther, King, Jr. spoke at Riverside Church in Upper Manhattan. He called for an end to the Vietnam War to thunderous applause. He called out the United States on its hypocrisy, its lies, its broken treaties, its poisonous justification for what some call genocide of a nation.
When he said, in no uncertain terms, that it was clear the United States’ military industrial complex was bludgeoning other democracies at the cost to the American people, the crowd rallied in agreement.
This would be his downfall. When he moved away from “I Have A Dream” and called out the United States for its depraved economic conditions which every American, no matter what their race, was subjected to, the pushback by the power elite was fierce.
We do not live in a functioning democracy. Our elections are theatrical, fraudulent and mechanisms to keep us busy, make us feel like we are participating in a meritocracy. This is a lie.
From Nagasaki to Iraq to Yemen and of course to Syria, the United States military industrial complex has battered nations in relentless bullying, an iron fist grasping a bomb, threatening every life that resides within those delicate borders. The American citizenry, over the years, has become immune to the bloodshed and violence. Through systemic gory images which we witness in movies, and in our own urban streets at the hands of a militarized police, we have protected ourselves from these stark distant nightmares and adopted the practice of “othering.”
We have been conditioned to become immune to violence. And with each movie ticket we buy that depicts an act of horror, or with each video feed we watch of a policeman murdering an unarmed person with impunity on our American soil, we have allowed ourselves to accept this violence, thus justifying our platform of indifference and we remain silent as those overseas are pummeled, gassed, shot, taunted, tasered and starved to death.
The American citizenry took this same platform of indifference when Prescott Bush, father and grandfather to two of our United States’ presidents, provided the necessary materials to shuttle Jews in trains, which he helped build, to meet their gruesome demise in the 1940’s. WE were instrumental in the Holocaust.
We didn’t care then. We don’t care now.
We have cognitive dissonance and we are unable to take responsibility for that platform of indifference. In a galling display of hypocrisy, we streamed stories and memes to call out Donald Trump as a modern day Nazi, and we plastered our computers and devices with photos of the past, recalling all the innocent men, women and children who died at the hands of the Nazi’s, failing to ever realize that had WE stopped one Prescott Bush from investing in the death trains, then perhaps other American industries that sold their wares would have backed out of the deal that took part in the murdering of over 6 million Jews.
We have targeted intellectualism and science, refuse to open a history book and fall prey to personality politics instead of policy. Martin Luther King, Jr., had he not been shot to death by the establishment, that same establishment that controls our airwaves and targets our delicate freedoms and protections, would surely not recognize society as it is today. He would have lived to see his greatest speech, his greatest most influential moment of his life, whither and die on the branch as Americans continue, again and again, to vote against their own lives. And he would have stood appalled, as we enter into this modern day version of McCarthyism, as Americans pit against Americans, degrading those of us who refuse to fall in line to this theater, this psychological operation of our will.
From Chernobyl to Fukushima, the ruling elite have decimated our lands for profit, raped our soil, our water and even the air we breathe, choking us on the vine of human life. We, the human race, are in the midst of another cycle of massive, ongoing extinction. Take a look at your toddler. He may never see his 30th birthday.
War has been waged on nearly every nation the United States military industrial complex can find, and now they have turned their guns to Russia, and to the American citizenry. But through systemic “feel your pain” language of one party and nationalistic “make America great” of another, we have failed to see that every facet of our liberties, today, has been sold away to the highest bidder.
It does not matter who sold us out. Either Party has a singular goal: profit. You are nothing more than a profit margin to which they can barter their next billion dollar sale. If you don’t accept this, you are discarded. Through the citizenry’s ever gluttonous, ravenous need for more, our enslavement to capitalism and sensationalism and excitement, rather than human awareness or compassion, we are now a nation that gets on our knees, holds our hands out and asks to be shackled by our keeper.
We have Stockholm Syndrome, as evidenced by the sincere trauma and agonizing pain as witnessed on the faces of every Democrat who wished Barack Obama could stay for a third term or were devastated that Hillary Clinton lost. These are the people who are sympathetic with their masters, the same masters who embodied some of the most corrupt, fraudulent and disastrous policies: failed nation states in the Middle East, giving rise to Daesh (ISIS); the selling out of the American citizenry for the price of a Goldman Sachs speech; waving off Hope and Change to demand the over burdened Middle Class bail out Wall Street after Wall Street had calculatedly duped the American citizenry on a financial level unseen in human history; singlehandedly decided Americans simply weren’t ready for single payer healthcare, instead reviving a policy written by the Republican-backed Insurance industry and enslaving the American citizenry once again to pay for something they simply could not afford, and finally demanding we accept our half loaves.
This citizenry pounded their chest in anger and fell on their hands in agony as they pleaded for the Party that has made us the most incarcerated nation on the planet, and who set the pace for our First Amendment rights to be decimated, and who created trade deals which left gaping maws of poverty all across our nation, and paved the way for more of these trade deals to save us from the Republicans. This is the party they prayed to God would save them.
It does not matter who the figurehead is. The war was waged on the American citizenry decades ago before I was even born. We see this again and again as the will of the population is bent and swallowed by the will of the power elite. We saw this with William Wallace. We saw this with Bernie Sanders. It is a singular system, a monopoly, not a duopoly, that has now written away your First and Fourth Amendment Rights, has engorged the NRA by allowing the mentally ill to carry firearms. We are experimented on, we are flatlined, brought back to life, given expensive toys, and lied to again and again and again. We are the pets to the power elite. Nothing more. The obedient ones are rewarded. The rebellious ones are euthanized.
We are slaves, enslaved to our masters. Our wills and desires are not represented by those we elect, or vote into office. And we are taxed, told to pay for those elected officials without proper representation. This is not a relationship they have in other modern nations that tax their citizenry and then treat healthcare as a human right and not a business model, or have free education or a livable wage that makes sure every human being is treated with dignity. No. The United States does not have that relationship with its citizenry. Ours is a Master / Slave relationship where we pay for the luxury of being abused by our masters.
And this being the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous Riverside speech, the irony should be a slap in the face to your shackled, oblivious, distracted, carefully constructed lives.