by Bo Sanders
Today is the 43 year anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King. As I was driving to work this morning I was listening to a show asking if President Obama is living up to the high rhetoric of the elections and if he is living up to the legacy of Dr. King that he drew on so often.
That is not what my note is about. It is simply background. The main focus of the conversation was what they called Dr. King’s terrible trifecta: Racism, Militarism, and Poverty. When they looked at the difference of President Obama vs. candidate Obama in this regard, the contrast was stark.
I have spent the day thinking about this terrible trifecta – Militarism, Racism, and Poverty. Part of why this has grabbed me is that I have been reading a lot of Paulo Freire for class. I wanted to pass along a section of an article from 1970.
So then, the more we get involved in action programs based on that illusory dream, the more we are playing the game of the power elites. Everything we do will be paternalistic. We will tend to promote assistential projects, to be “falsely generous,”… instead of working with men to transform the social reality that blocks them from being fully human, we will co-operate in maintaining that unjust reality by ineffectual actions that are no more helpful than aspirin pills. Obviously, the power elites will love us and praise us for doing what they want – and we will sleep on blithely, perhaps after having taken our little nip of Scotch whisky.
I look at our current budget process and wonder about our militarism and its odd connection to poverty.
I watch the news and listen to my neighbors and wince at race in America and our consumer culture’s odd fascination with charitable causes.
Dr. King was in Memphis when he was shot working on behalf of Sanitation Worker’s rights. He had begun speaking about America’s military and wars. 43 years later I am in Los Angeles wondering how long a nation can take aspirin to dull the pain before we have to confront agian the terrible trifecta of militarism, race, and poverty.