Litkicks Message Board Archive

What a great man!

Posted to Poetry and Politics




He starts off by saying how hard it is to go beyond conformity. "Men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in times of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world."

"And we must rejoice as well.....a ...number of leaders have chosen to move beyond....smooth patriotism to ...a firm dissent....."


He goes on to bemoan the "poverty program...broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube."

He also refused to be compartmentalised into a "civil rights leader" by way of exclusion from the peace movement.

What do I think of the speech? I've copied it. It is a comprehensive vision, a historical record, a teaching seminar.

I can tell you from personal experience, going through college from 1965-1969, being a Republican by birth family, being in the AirForce ROTC, believing in profound values of quality about my country, the task of reframing my mind into one of dissent was arduous, belabored, heavy;
it took years, through exposure to dissent, and getting into a very real situation by choice, flying in Vietnam, and ultimately coming up to a wall, a road that split in two, and I took the path of dissent.

I can also tell you that coming back from that dissent was arduous. Finding ways to get involved, be different yet well-adjusted, is important.

April, 1968. opened the apartment door and saw the paper
"KING ASSASSINATED!" I said "SHIT!"

And it was a part of my opening up.

He was a truly great individual. And we are faced with the same situation today, the loss of the "peace dividend" on the altar of war, called inevitable by some, but a choice nontheless.