What Would Dr. King Do?


I was listening to Tavis Smiley on Democracy Now talking about his new book, Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Yearand the topic of the parallel between the Vietnam War and the new War on ISIS came up. Tavis talked about how Dr. King voiced his strong opposition to the Vietnam War - which caused him great political harm - and would likely oppose our current bombing forays in the Middle East.

I was struck by a clip they played where Dr. King called the US Government "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today":

As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask, and rightly so, “What about Vietnam?” And they ask if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. That question has hit home. And I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today, my own government.
— Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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