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Sun Jan 19, 2020, 09:40 PM

My 7th Annual "King Thing".

Thirty years ago when I lived in MA and had lots of white friends, I worked for a company that did not celebrate MLK Day. We didn't get the day off. Most black people took the day off using personal leave to attend church functions and breakfasts. Me personally, I believed that Dr. King fought for my right to be able to have a job in an integrated company. So I showed up. And organized MLK Day events during lunch.

At any rate, since I wasn't going to have Monday off, I decided I would celebrate on Sunday, and the "King Thing" was born. The format has actually stayed pretty much the same for all the years I've been doing it, both in MA and in MD. People would come in, I would feed them, we would listen to the I Have a Dream speech, and we would discuss it. Most of the people who attended were white. For them, it was a very special event, because nobody else was inviting them to celebrate the holiday.

Fast forward 20 years, I had moved to Maryland, and almost all of my friends were black. I don't know what got me to start the King Thing up again, but I did and it has been very successful. Since EVERYBODY had heard the I Have a Dream speech, I play it as people are arriving, then we eat, and then we listen to an entirely different speech or sermon followed by discussion. I do it to show MLKs depth and breadth. He spoke in many different places, on many different topics. He was a minister and had a lot to say to his congregation. He was riveting, mesmerising, very, very slow, but worth hearing. For the past few years, I played "Give Us the Ballot" and people talked about how we could get more people to vote. This year, as I was planning the King Thing, Trump assassinated an Iranian general. So I thought I would play "Beyond Vietnam".

It was extremely long. It's possible that a few people fell asleep, but it's also possible that their eyes were closed as they tried to take it all in. It was so powerful. I have no doubt that it is part of why they killed him. Dr. King talked about the situation in Vietnam and I learned a lot. He talked about how we supported a bloodthirsty dictator in the name of democracy. He talked about how Vietnam had been a French colony, but instead of supporting their desire for independence, we sided with the French. And how when the French pulled out, we decided to continue. And we tore Vietnam to pieces. Destroyed homes, villages, killed men, women, children. Burned people alive with napalm. It was ghastly. All to "fight the spread of communism".

Dr. King talked about the fact that it was our poorest boys who went off to war. And how war raped the treasury of the money to finance social programs.

But then, he went "Beyond Vietnam". This is the part that got him killed. He talked about how America was constantly setting up dictators, so that companies could exploit the natural resources of the countries. And he named the countries where the US was doing it. He said that we were more interested in profit than people. And he said that we had to fight this.

I was riveted. I took American history twice, once in middle school, and once in high school, and both times, they stopped short of Vietnam. History was still being written, and it was just too painful. So hearing this speech was so educational. And so infuriating. We are monsters. And when the rest of the world looks at the US, they do not necessarily see freedom and democracy - they see bullies and exploiters. We have much to be ashamed of. And when Trump closes the doors on refugees, I wonder how often we supported the side that destroyed their homes and communities. Monsters.

When I think about the causes I support, they are all US causes. But after today, I want a piece of my money to go toward the injustice of our monstrous behavior. I don't think any of our Democratic candidates are talking about it. I think talking about it gets you shut down quick, fast, and in a hurry.

So, today, King crystallized a reality that I have not previously heard articulated so clearly. It was very, very painful to see America shown in such an ugly light. And if I can figure out something that I can do about it, I will.

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Response to qwlauren35 (Original post)

Mon Jan 20, 2020, 12:07 PM

1. My immediate thought regarding what one can do about it is: VOTE!

Do not fail.

Do not fail to go and cast your vote.

I fear itís yet another right we non-GOP/CONservatives may lose if we donít use it. The other side CHEATS. And will rig the game to win at every possible opportunity it thinks it can get away with doing.

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Response to qwlauren35 (Original post)

Mon Jan 20, 2020, 03:21 PM

2. 'America was constantly setting up dictators, so that companies could exploit

the natural resources of the countries. And he named the countries where the US was doing it. He said that we were more interested in profit than people. And he said that we had to fight this.'

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Response to elleng (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 20, 2020, 08:25 PM

5. General Smedly Butler said same in his short book, War is a Racket,

IN 1935!!!!!
War Is a Racket is a speech and a 1935 short book, by Smedley D. Butler, a retired United States Marine Corps Major General and two-time Medal of Honor recipient. Most decorated soldier......

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Response to qwlauren35 (Original post)

Mon Jan 20, 2020, 05:26 PM

3. Here it is.

I knew it was long, but I didn't realize it was an hour.

If you have an hour in your day, maybe this year, maybe next year, as you honor Dr. King's birthday, listen to this speech.



You can also listen to a commentary. Which is only 13 minutes.



This speech is the most powerful, riveting 60 minutes that I've had in a long time.

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Response to qwlauren35 (Original post)

Mon Jan 20, 2020, 05:57 PM

4. Your King Thing is a stroke of genius...congratulations!!!! Thanks for the fabulous letter!❤

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