The “I have a dream” speech

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

Clarence Jones, an aide to Martin Luther King, Jr., recounts the background of the famous “I have a dream” speech, which really is a spectacular piece of oratory.  According to his account, Dr. King worked on a policy-type speech, showing it to a number of different individuals and getting their input.  But when he actually got up there at the Lincoln Memorial to speak, the great gospel singer Mahalia Jackson was in the crowd and said, “tell them about the dream!”  Dr. King then improvised the speech, turning it into a sermon, which gave it its power.

See On Martin Luther King Day, remembering the first draft of ‘I Have a Dream’.

I remember, growing up in small town Oklahoma in the 1950s and 1960s, seeing side-by-side water fountains, one with a sign for “whites” and one with a sign for “coloreds.” The town swimming pool was only open to black people on Wednesdays, after which the water would be changed for white people to swim in the rest of the week. I don’t know if black people were allowed to vote, but they certainly were not in much of the South.

I also remember the Civil Rights Movement and the change in the sentiments of that small town. It was, first of all, an application of transcendent morality to the treatment of black people. I recall vividly the appeal to Christian ethics and how churches of all stripes were exerting leadership. I remember how moved people were by Dr. King’s principles of non-violence and non-resistance. The Civil Rights Movement triumphed by simply winning people over.

The Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. King was not just a political fight; rather, it was a moral crusade. It changed both political parties. It was predicated on moral principles being objectively valid. Churches exerted moral authority.

So Martin Luther King Day is a holiday that conservatives, as well as liberals, can celebrate.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    amazing. this is now earthly righeousness happens.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    amazing. this is now earthly righeousness happens.

  • Booklover

    Thank you–I did not know this about Mahalia Jackson. I had a pastor once who said it is the people who don’t seem to have much power or position who actually have the most influence. This case of Mahalia would seem to fit that.

  • Booklover

    Thank you–I did not know this about Mahalia Jackson. I had a pastor once who said it is the people who don’t seem to have much power or position who actually have the most influence. This case of Mahalia would seem to fit that.

  • Tom Hering

    Didn’t a lot of Southern conservatives leave the Democratic Party after the success of Civil Rights legislation? Didn’t that abandonment change the nature of the Democratic Party, and of our government, to this day? Would this be an example of the law of unintended consequences?

  • Tom Hering

    Didn’t a lot of Southern conservatives leave the Democratic Party after the success of Civil Rights legislation? Didn’t that abandonment change the nature of the Democratic Party, and of our government, to this day? Would this be an example of the law of unintended consequences?

  • Sandi

    off topic, but Im watching Fox news, New Miss America says she will attend Patrick Henry…looks like your school will be in the news.

  • Sandi

    off topic, but Im watching Fox news, New Miss America says she will attend Patrick Henry…looks like your school will be in the news.

  • Husker Lutheran

    Dr. King on vocations:

    “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

  • Husker Lutheran

    Dr. King on vocations:

    “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

  • Stephen

    What happened during the Civil Rights Movement is a perfect example of earthly righteousness happening that transcends political distinctions. Most people of good conscience could see that the fire hoses being used on human beings was very horrible thing and it woke up the entire nation. How it came about is beside the point. We can debate and monkey with it until Jesus comes. But it happened. The Civil and Voting Rights Acts. The end of Jim Crow, etc. the end of segregation. Justice rolling down like flood for those who have been crying out to God for it.

    What is the “dream” after all? It is a dream that has its end in love – being judged not by outward things – color of the skin, what government should look like in its particulars – but by inward things like character, that is, the heart. That is what the speech ended up being about. It was a sermon on the whole of the law. The end or “whole” of the law is love.

  • Stephen

    What happened during the Civil Rights Movement is a perfect example of earthly righteousness happening that transcends political distinctions. Most people of good conscience could see that the fire hoses being used on human beings was very horrible thing and it woke up the entire nation. How it came about is beside the point. We can debate and monkey with it until Jesus comes. But it happened. The Civil and Voting Rights Acts. The end of Jim Crow, etc. the end of segregation. Justice rolling down like flood for those who have been crying out to God for it.

    What is the “dream” after all? It is a dream that has its end in love – being judged not by outward things – color of the skin, what government should look like in its particulars – but by inward things like character, that is, the heart. That is what the speech ended up being about. It was a sermon on the whole of the law. The end or “whole” of the law is love.

  • J. Arndt

    MLK on the war crime that was Vietnam and the devastating effect of America’s wars on the poor grew directly from his civil rights leadership. This is the stuff that most of America still hates about him (’cause he’d say the same about Iraq and Afghanistan) and thus it’s ignored today. When you read the following excerpt, you can see why -

    Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor — both black and white — through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam and I watched the 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 in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

    Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

    My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years — especially the last three summers. 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 asked — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions 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. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

    For those who ask the question, “Aren’t you a civil rights leader?” and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: “To save the soul of America.” We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself unless the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:

    O, yes,
    I say it plain,
    America never was America to me,
    And yet I swear this oath–
    America will be!

  • J. Arndt

    MLK on the war crime that was Vietnam and the devastating effect of America’s wars on the poor grew directly from his civil rights leadership. This is the stuff that most of America still hates about him (’cause he’d say the same about Iraq and Afghanistan) and thus it’s ignored today. When you read the following excerpt, you can see why -

    Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor — both black and white — through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam and I watched the 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 in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

    Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

    My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years — especially the last three summers. 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 asked — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions 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. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

    For those who ask the question, “Aren’t you a civil rights leader?” and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: “To save the soul of America.” We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself unless the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:

    O, yes,
    I say it plain,
    America never was America to me,
    And yet I swear this oath–
    America will be!

  • Frank

    Right, Ardnt.

    Here’s a sample from a Tim Wise essay about how King has become sanitized:

    It’s been a rough year for Martin Luther King, Jr., and for his legacy. First, as has become an annual ritual, politicians went to church or some other civic gathering for last year’s King Day celebration, even as they continued to support public policies that he found abhorrent. Whether continuing to prosecute a seemingly endless and most definitely murderous war, or by supporting cuts to vital social programs, there is no shortage of hypocrisy when it comes to proclaiming fealty to King’s vision in words, while besmirching it in deeds, all at once…. And this is especially true in a nation that has so thoroughly sanitized and compartmentalized King’s message, and King himself, within the pantheon of national heroes. We have turned King into a milquetoast moderate whose agenda went little beyond the ability to sit next to white people on a bus. We’ve stripped away from the public remembrance of this man his calls for income redistribution, his insistence that the United States has become the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world today,” and his proclamation that poverty, racism and militarism are the “triple evils” that America’s rulers have not the courage to confront. – Tim Wise

    Whole essay is worth reading at http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/01/tim_wise_kings_legacy_took_a_beating_in_2010.html

  • Frank

    Right, Ardnt.

    Here’s a sample from a Tim Wise essay about how King has become sanitized:

    It’s been a rough year for Martin Luther King, Jr., and for his legacy. First, as has become an annual ritual, politicians went to church or some other civic gathering for last year’s King Day celebration, even as they continued to support public policies that he found abhorrent. Whether continuing to prosecute a seemingly endless and most definitely murderous war, or by supporting cuts to vital social programs, there is no shortage of hypocrisy when it comes to proclaiming fealty to King’s vision in words, while besmirching it in deeds, all at once…. And this is especially true in a nation that has so thoroughly sanitized and compartmentalized King’s message, and King himself, within the pantheon of national heroes. We have turned King into a milquetoast moderate whose agenda went little beyond the ability to sit next to white people on a bus. We’ve stripped away from the public remembrance of this man his calls for income redistribution, his insistence that the United States has become the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world today,” and his proclamation that poverty, racism and militarism are the “triple evils” that America’s rulers have not the courage to confront. – Tim Wise

    Whole essay is worth reading at http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/01/tim_wise_kings_legacy_took_a_beating_in_2010.html

  • Porcell

    Pastor Arndt, your view that the Vietnam and other wars are the cause of poverty is dubious.

    The orthodox view that the Vietnam War was wrong has come to be seriously questioned. Among some recent first-class historians, especially Mark Moyar in his Triumph Forsaken,we had good reason to fight the war; further, that it could have been won. The abandonment of South Vietnam, along with the deaths of millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians, who were slaughtered after the U.S. left the region, is a major fault in our history.

    Also, your view that the Vietnam and subsequent wars are the major cause of poverty in America is debatable. The most compelling cause of contemporary poverty is the decadence and sexual revolution that have weakened the work ethic of poor people and left many women as single mothers living in poverty. It is well known in the long run that staying married and obtaining a high-school diploma for most people create a ticket into the middle class.

    Some economists regard religion as an important offset to poverty. For an interesting article on this you might try the NYT article Can Religion Offset the Effects of Child Poverty?

  • Porcell

    Pastor Arndt, your view that the Vietnam and other wars are the cause of poverty is dubious.

    The orthodox view that the Vietnam War was wrong has come to be seriously questioned. Among some recent first-class historians, especially Mark Moyar in his Triumph Forsaken,we had good reason to fight the war; further, that it could have been won. The abandonment of South Vietnam, along with the deaths of millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians, who were slaughtered after the U.S. left the region, is a major fault in our history.

    Also, your view that the Vietnam and subsequent wars are the major cause of poverty in America is debatable. The most compelling cause of contemporary poverty is the decadence and sexual revolution that have weakened the work ethic of poor people and left many women as single mothers living in poverty. It is well known in the long run that staying married and obtaining a high-school diploma for most people create a ticket into the middle class.

    Some economists regard religion as an important offset to poverty. For an interesting article on this you might try the NYT article Can Religion Offset the Effects of Child Poverty?

  • DonS

    Hmm. So, in Frank’s view, unless you are prepared to support everything that MLK stood for, you cannot support and admire what he is best known for — promoting the civil rights of blacks and minorities and communicating to America, in vivid language, the dream of racial equality — where all people, regardless of color, are afforded the same opportunities in a colorblind society.

    Well, it IS true that MLK’s legacy has been sanitized. But this is true of all revered historical figures, save for Jesus Christ. Were his later slippage into a philosophy of socialism and mandatory reparations of about $250 billion in today’s dollars to all disadvantaged minorities in America to be better remembered, his reputation, and his courageous and powerful words, contravened by this later viewpoint, would be vitiated. Were his serial extramarital affairs to be better remembered, he would be scorned for his unfaithfulness. His opposition to Vietnam was not stated as a principled opposition to war, but rather as a needless diversion of funds from social programs and an unjust draft of minorities to forced service. This latter point is well taken, as the higher education deferment was a loophole, set up by wealthy white Democrats, primarily (since they fully controlled the levers of government at that time), that you could drive a truck through, resulting in the disproportionate induction of the underprivileged into military service. However, that is of historical interest only, since it has been fully addressed by the institution of an all-volunteer military. So there is no reason to emphasize that aspect of his public life today.

    Yes, MLK made many missteps in life, and held many unfortunate views. But he was also a man of vision, and we of all political persuasions, races, and ethnicities can equally appreciate his eloquent vision of a colorblind society, toward which we have made great strides.

  • DonS

    Hmm. So, in Frank’s view, unless you are prepared to support everything that MLK stood for, you cannot support and admire what he is best known for — promoting the civil rights of blacks and minorities and communicating to America, in vivid language, the dream of racial equality — where all people, regardless of color, are afforded the same opportunities in a colorblind society.

    Well, it IS true that MLK’s legacy has been sanitized. But this is true of all revered historical figures, save for Jesus Christ. Were his later slippage into a philosophy of socialism and mandatory reparations of about $250 billion in today’s dollars to all disadvantaged minorities in America to be better remembered, his reputation, and his courageous and powerful words, contravened by this later viewpoint, would be vitiated. Were his serial extramarital affairs to be better remembered, he would be scorned for his unfaithfulness. His opposition to Vietnam was not stated as a principled opposition to war, but rather as a needless diversion of funds from social programs and an unjust draft of minorities to forced service. This latter point is well taken, as the higher education deferment was a loophole, set up by wealthy white Democrats, primarily (since they fully controlled the levers of government at that time), that you could drive a truck through, resulting in the disproportionate induction of the underprivileged into military service. However, that is of historical interest only, since it has been fully addressed by the institution of an all-volunteer military. So there is no reason to emphasize that aspect of his public life today.

    Yes, MLK made many missteps in life, and held many unfortunate views. But he was also a man of vision, and we of all political persuasions, races, and ethnicities can equally appreciate his eloquent vision of a colorblind society, toward which we have made great strides.

  • Tom Hering

    MLK’s point was not that Vietnam was the cause of poverty in America, but that our nation’s full-scale war on poverty was ended by the diversion of our national treasure to Vietnam. Much as we “can’t” afford to continue social programs now because billions upon billions are diverted to the Middle East.

  • Tom Hering

    MLK’s point was not that Vietnam was the cause of poverty in America, but that our nation’s full-scale war on poverty was ended by the diversion of our national treasure to Vietnam. Much as we “can’t” afford to continue social programs now because billions upon billions are diverted to the Middle East.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Interesting and short video on how MLK Jr. got his name:

    http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-540852?hpt=Sbin

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Interesting and short video on how MLK Jr. got his name:

    http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-540852?hpt=Sbin

  • Porcell

    Tom, at 11, Johnson’s “war” on poverty is generally regarded as a failure, notwithstanding that some of its funds were diverted to the Vietnam war. While the government can do some things to alleviate poverty, most poverty in America is a result of poor decisions made by individuals. Again, those who obtain a high-school diploma and stay married have a decent chance for economic success. Of course, less than able bodied people along with widows and orphans should be and are supported by government welfare, to say nothing of the tremendous charity giving of American people, especially conservative and religious people.

    It is true that if our government continues to overspend and racks up unsustainable debt, as is the case with, say, Greece, then government policy itself could be the cause of poverty.

    Even if we zeroed out the defense budget, the present entitlement programs would be unsustainable.

  • Porcell

    Tom, at 11, Johnson’s “war” on poverty is generally regarded as a failure, notwithstanding that some of its funds were diverted to the Vietnam war. While the government can do some things to alleviate poverty, most poverty in America is a result of poor decisions made by individuals. Again, those who obtain a high-school diploma and stay married have a decent chance for economic success. Of course, less than able bodied people along with widows and orphans should be and are supported by government welfare, to say nothing of the tremendous charity giving of American people, especially conservative and religious people.

    It is true that if our government continues to overspend and racks up unsustainable debt, as is the case with, say, Greece, then government policy itself could be the cause of poverty.

    Even if we zeroed out the defense budget, the present entitlement programs would be unsustainable.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    porcell at 13

    it is simply not true that the war on poverty is largely viewed as a failure. It significantly improved conditions in places such as appalachia. there was measureable improvement.,

    what evidence do you have that it was a failure porcell?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    porcell at 13

    it is simply not true that the war on poverty is largely viewed as a failure. It significantly improved conditions in places such as appalachia. there was measureable improvement.,

    what evidence do you have that it was a failure porcell?

  • Porcell

    FWS, at 14, The evidence is unmistakable that Appalachia and other poor sections of the country ended up just as poor after the “war” on poverty as before.

    Applalachia remains poor-and will remain so-until its people become better educated, harder working, along with being technologically and industrially sophisticated enough to attract capital investment. The notion that Appalachia remains poor due to a lack of government programs for the poor is a deceptive illusion.

    Among the many articles on the failure of the War on Poverty is that of Stephen Malanga’s City Journal article, We Don’t Need Another War on Poverty including the following:

    Despite years of effort and gargantuan transfusions of money, the federal government lost its War on Poverty. “In 1968 . . . 13 percent of Americans were poor,” wrote Charles Murray in his unstinting examination of antipoverty programs, Losing Ground. “Over the next 12 years, our expenditures on social welfare quadrupled. And in 1980, the percentage of poor Americans was—13 percent.”

  • Porcell

    FWS, at 14, The evidence is unmistakable that Appalachia and other poor sections of the country ended up just as poor after the “war” on poverty as before.

    Applalachia remains poor-and will remain so-until its people become better educated, harder working, along with being technologically and industrially sophisticated enough to attract capital investment. The notion that Appalachia remains poor due to a lack of government programs for the poor is a deceptive illusion.

    Among the many articles on the failure of the War on Poverty is that of Stephen Malanga’s City Journal article, We Don’t Need Another War on Poverty including the following:

    Despite years of effort and gargantuan transfusions of money, the federal government lost its War on Poverty. “In 1968 . . . 13 percent of Americans were poor,” wrote Charles Murray in his unstinting examination of antipoverty programs, Losing Ground. “Over the next 12 years, our expenditures on social welfare quadrupled. And in 1980, the percentage of poor Americans was—13 percent.”

  • helen

    DON S @ 10
    However, that is of historical interest only, since it has been fully addressed by the institution of an all-volunteer military.

    An “all volunteer military” is a solution to the inequalities of the draft and deferments or redirection into safe stay-at-home units for the children of the wealthy? Ri- i- ght!

    Does any young man whose parents can afford college tuition “volunteer” to be a rifleman in Afghanistan?
    I doubt it. But small town kids, all ethnicities, who can’t find a job with that “high school degree” because too many jobs have been shipped overseas to provide profit for a few and a decreased standard of living for that “middle class” (you are probably talking down to), they “volunteer”. They are bribed with bonuses up front and the dream of college tuition “when they get back”.
    The possibility that they might get back in a box, or physical and mental wreckage which our glorious country proceeds to neglect more often than rehabilitate, is not mentioned in the recruitment office. If they couldn’t find a good job before, they are less likely to do so, afterward.

    But they “volunteered” for it, so you needn’t take any notice!

    I don’t know anything about you but you’re probably in the class Eisenhower was warning against… making a profit by trafficking in arms accompanied by our uniformed services (or “contracted” mercenaries…there’s a new more profitable “loophole”!)

    Thank you, Tom Hering, for being more aware of the realities!

  • helen

    DON S @ 10
    However, that is of historical interest only, since it has been fully addressed by the institution of an all-volunteer military.

    An “all volunteer military” is a solution to the inequalities of the draft and deferments or redirection into safe stay-at-home units for the children of the wealthy? Ri- i- ght!

    Does any young man whose parents can afford college tuition “volunteer” to be a rifleman in Afghanistan?
    I doubt it. But small town kids, all ethnicities, who can’t find a job with that “high school degree” because too many jobs have been shipped overseas to provide profit for a few and a decreased standard of living for that “middle class” (you are probably talking down to), they “volunteer”. They are bribed with bonuses up front and the dream of college tuition “when they get back”.
    The possibility that they might get back in a box, or physical and mental wreckage which our glorious country proceeds to neglect more often than rehabilitate, is not mentioned in the recruitment office. If they couldn’t find a good job before, they are less likely to do so, afterward.

    But they “volunteered” for it, so you needn’t take any notice!

    I don’t know anything about you but you’re probably in the class Eisenhower was warning against… making a profit by trafficking in arms accompanied by our uniformed services (or “contracted” mercenaries…there’s a new more profitable “loophole”!)

    Thank you, Tom Hering, for being more aware of the realities!

  • helen

    PORCELL @ 13
    Of course, less than able bodied people along with widows and orphans should be and are supported by government welfare, to say nothing of the tremendous charity giving of American people, especially conservative and religious people.

    Do you know one thing about this, from the “eligible to receive by your own definition” end of it?
    Do you know anyone who fits your definition?

  • helen

    PORCELL @ 13
    Of course, less than able bodied people along with widows and orphans should be and are supported by government welfare, to say nothing of the tremendous charity giving of American people, especially conservative and religious people.

    Do you know one thing about this, from the “eligible to receive by your own definition” end of it?
    Do you know anyone who fits your definition?

  • Porcell

    Helen, widows and orphans, along with physically and mentally disabled people, are routinely provided with government welfare and housing subsidies.. These people in the U.S, compared to poor people in other parts of the world, are taken, care of rather well.

    As to the military, not a few sons and daughters of well off people voluntarily enlist. For a good example of this, you might read Nathaniel Fick’s One Bullet Away, the narrative of a Dartmouth graduate who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some might join the military for purely economic reasons, though most join for the adventure of it as well as from patriotism.

    You suffer the problem of most leftists, influenced by Marx, of a too strict economic determinism.

  • Porcell

    Helen, widows and orphans, along with physically and mentally disabled people, are routinely provided with government welfare and housing subsidies.. These people in the U.S, compared to poor people in other parts of the world, are taken, care of rather well.

    As to the military, not a few sons and daughters of well off people voluntarily enlist. For a good example of this, you might read Nathaniel Fick’s One Bullet Away, the narrative of a Dartmouth graduate who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some might join the military for purely economic reasons, though most join for the adventure of it as well as from patriotism.

    You suffer the problem of most leftists, influenced by Marx, of a too strict economic determinism.

  • DonS

    Helen @ 16: Your post is correct in one point. You know NOTHING about me.

    I do not “traffic in arms”, nor do I work in any way in or for the “military-industrial complex”. And my son is currently in the Naval ROTC, preparing to serve his country in the U.S. Navy. I couldn’t be more proud of him.

  • DonS

    Helen @ 16: Your post is correct in one point. You know NOTHING about me.

    I do not “traffic in arms”, nor do I work in any way in or for the “military-industrial complex”. And my son is currently in the Naval ROTC, preparing to serve his country in the U.S. Navy. I couldn’t be more proud of him.

  • DonS

    Now that I’ve addressed your baseless accusation regarding my personal circumstances, Helen @ 16, please explain what more the U.S. should do regarding military recruiting. First, what is your evidence that the current composition of the military is skewed toward lower income people? You provided none. Second, what more would you have the military do? Draft only “wealthy” people, to even things out, to your satisfaction? Do away with signing and/or retention bonuses, as well as the GI bill? What? I don’t understand the point of your rant. For many young people, especially those who had a troubled youth, the military and its imposed discipline affords a way out of a life of poverty, substance abuse, and ruin, a sense of purpose and belonging, and excellent career training. Would you deny them that opportunity and choice because of your own political views? You are free not to serve, just as others are free to serve, each in accordance with their own conscience. That was what was wrong with the draft, and why a volunteer military furthers individual freedom.

  • DonS

    Now that I’ve addressed your baseless accusation regarding my personal circumstances, Helen @ 16, please explain what more the U.S. should do regarding military recruiting. First, what is your evidence that the current composition of the military is skewed toward lower income people? You provided none. Second, what more would you have the military do? Draft only “wealthy” people, to even things out, to your satisfaction? Do away with signing and/or retention bonuses, as well as the GI bill? What? I don’t understand the point of your rant. For many young people, especially those who had a troubled youth, the military and its imposed discipline affords a way out of a life of poverty, substance abuse, and ruin, a sense of purpose and belonging, and excellent career training. Would you deny them that opportunity and choice because of your own political views? You are free not to serve, just as others are free to serve, each in accordance with their own conscience. That was what was wrong with the draft, and why a volunteer military furthers individual freedom.

  • DonS

    I’m going to re-state, to some extent, my post @ 10, in order to hopefully bring back the focus of this thread to MLK.

    The point I was trying to make is that MLK’s later expressed views regarding the ultimately failed War on Poverty and the Vietnam Ware are those of a run-of-the-mill lefty. Nothing special about them. Many lefty’s of the day held those views. They weren’t what made him special or memorable, and that is why they are not emphasized by those remembering MLK Day.

    What MLK is principally known for is his great vision regarding civil rights. Two speeches, in particular, will be forever recognized as great moments in American history. Those are, of course, his “I’ve Got a Dream” speech in 1963 and his “Mountaintop” speech in 1968, embodying his vision of a colorblind society. His inspirational oratory changed a generation, regardless of race, station in life, political views, or nationality. That is, rightly, what his life is celebrated for.

  • DonS

    I’m going to re-state, to some extent, my post @ 10, in order to hopefully bring back the focus of this thread to MLK.

    The point I was trying to make is that MLK’s later expressed views regarding the ultimately failed War on Poverty and the Vietnam Ware are those of a run-of-the-mill lefty. Nothing special about them. Many lefty’s of the day held those views. They weren’t what made him special or memorable, and that is why they are not emphasized by those remembering MLK Day.

    What MLK is principally known for is his great vision regarding civil rights. Two speeches, in particular, will be forever recognized as great moments in American history. Those are, of course, his “I’ve Got a Dream” speech in 1963 and his “Mountaintop” speech in 1968, embodying his vision of a colorblind society. His inspirational oratory changed a generation, regardless of race, station in life, political views, or nationality. That is, rightly, what his life is celebrated for.

  • Stephen

    DonS

    Very nicely put. But why does it so often seem to be the case that we fail to see what is said because we focus on who is saying it? We measure them against some other rubric, usually political, we have that is based on a set of criteria like a check list. If they are off on six of the thirteen things on the list they must be held in suspicion. And while I have no ready evidence to cite, I’d just bet that during his lifetime even the two admired speeches of King’s you point to were disregarded out of hand because he was a “lefty” on so many other of the criteria at hand.

    Time is more friendly with such things though, and the relative benefits of moving toward the vision expressed in those speeches can be felt everywhere. But it wasn’t just those speeches that mattered. A lot of other things happened during that time that have their effects today, and he took a bullet because he was not only saying stuff, the Movement was changing stuff. And it benefits all of us.

    So now we either do the negative and deconstruct him for his political and personal sins or mythologize him as a prophet and saint. Or we do some kind of compromise and say he was a man who made some impressive speeches that got people to thinking about stuff. No. He changed things and put himself out there. And when he said “we as a people will get to the promised land” he was talking about all of us. Every one of us. He got shot the next day because it was more than just a speech. We were already on the way.

  • Stephen

    DonS

    Very nicely put. But why does it so often seem to be the case that we fail to see what is said because we focus on who is saying it? We measure them against some other rubric, usually political, we have that is based on a set of criteria like a check list. If they are off on six of the thirteen things on the list they must be held in suspicion. And while I have no ready evidence to cite, I’d just bet that during his lifetime even the two admired speeches of King’s you point to were disregarded out of hand because he was a “lefty” on so many other of the criteria at hand.

    Time is more friendly with such things though, and the relative benefits of moving toward the vision expressed in those speeches can be felt everywhere. But it wasn’t just those speeches that mattered. A lot of other things happened during that time that have their effects today, and he took a bullet because he was not only saying stuff, the Movement was changing stuff. And it benefits all of us.

    So now we either do the negative and deconstruct him for his political and personal sins or mythologize him as a prophet and saint. Or we do some kind of compromise and say he was a man who made some impressive speeches that got people to thinking about stuff. No. He changed things and put himself out there. And when he said “we as a people will get to the promised land” he was talking about all of us. Every one of us. He got shot the next day because it was more than just a speech. We were already on the way.

  • Cincinnatus

    I’ve never been all that impressed by MLK. If he hadn’t been assassinated, I don’t think any of us would be either.

    /inflammatory potshot for the day accomplished

  • Cincinnatus

    I’ve never been all that impressed by MLK. If he hadn’t been assassinated, I don’t think any of us would be either.

    /inflammatory potshot for the day accomplished

  • Porcell

    In my view, King’s greatness had to do with his bringing an essentially religious view of justice forcefully into the public square. Here, for all his faults, was a deeply religious Christian man calling the nation in no uncertain biblical terms to racial justice, essentially turning the secular view of politics upside down.

    The secular liberals, many of whom detest religion in the public square, were forced to accept King’s Christian and biblical presence, though they do try to minimize it.

    To be fair, both whites and blacks must give King high marks for what amounts to a revolution in civil rights. Lincoln defeated slavery. King defeated Jim Crow.

  • Porcell

    In my view, King’s greatness had to do with his bringing an essentially religious view of justice forcefully into the public square. Here, for all his faults, was a deeply religious Christian man calling the nation in no uncertain biblical terms to racial justice, essentially turning the secular view of politics upside down.

    The secular liberals, many of whom detest religion in the public square, were forced to accept King’s Christian and biblical presence, though they do try to minimize it.

    To be fair, both whites and blacks must give King high marks for what amounts to a revolution in civil rights. Lincoln defeated slavery. King defeated Jim Crow.

  • trotk

    Porcell @ 15: “Applalachia (sic) remains poor-and will remain so-until its people become better educated, harder working…”

    trotk @25: Peter, you are a pompous ass. Visit Appalachia some day and meet some people before you accuse them of being ignorant and lazy.

  • trotk

    Porcell @ 15: “Applalachia (sic) remains poor-and will remain so-until its people become better educated, harder working…”

    trotk @25: Peter, you are a pompous ass. Visit Appalachia some day and meet some people before you accuse them of being ignorant and lazy.

  • Porcell

    trotk, I didn’t say all the people in that region are incompetent and lazy, Rather that the region as a whole is relatively poor, not due to a lack of government funding but to a problem of relatively poor education, work ethic, and lack of sophisticated technology and industry. I’ve actually been there many times both for business and the enjoyment of its excellent folk music.

  • Porcell

    trotk, I didn’t say all the people in that region are incompetent and lazy, Rather that the region as a whole is relatively poor, not due to a lack of government funding but to a problem of relatively poor education, work ethic, and lack of sophisticated technology and industry. I’ve actually been there many times both for business and the enjoyment of its excellent folk music.

  • Cincinnatus

    “Peter, you are a pompous ass. Visit Appalachia some day and meet some people before you accuse them of being ignorant and lazy.”

    trotk, while Porcell’s comment may have been a bit heavy on Appalachia, I’m from there and can confirm, in a general sense, elements of his assessment. There is a reason I left, and there is a reason I can’t stand to be in the same room with a certain class of locals for very long.

    On the other hand, I still love Appalachia, and the “lack of sophisticated technology and industry” characteristic of the area is, in my opinion, not such a bad thing and is, in fact, part of the charm of its regional culture.

  • Cincinnatus

    “Peter, you are a pompous ass. Visit Appalachia some day and meet some people before you accuse them of being ignorant and lazy.”

    trotk, while Porcell’s comment may have been a bit heavy on Appalachia, I’m from there and can confirm, in a general sense, elements of his assessment. There is a reason I left, and there is a reason I can’t stand to be in the same room with a certain class of locals for very long.

    On the other hand, I still love Appalachia, and the “lack of sophisticated technology and industry” characteristic of the area is, in my opinion, not such a bad thing and is, in fact, part of the charm of its regional culture.

  • helen

    Don S @ 19
    Helen @ 16: Your post is correct in one point. You know NOTHING about me.

    I apologize for making assumptions based on one post.
    I congratulate you on your son. Mine was a Navy carrier pilot in the first Gulf war.
    I had two cousins in “Naam” , one in Korea, and more relatives in WW II and in the Navy in the 30′s.

    It is a new thing to be called a “leftie” seemingly because I have some acquaintance with the lower percentiles of the US population!
    I am a [legal] immigrant’s daughter. I have a Master’s degree now, but nobody ever gave me a “minority” or any other “free ride” scholarship. My undergraduate tuition was paid with my father’s life insurance, a sacrifice for my mother. He died when I was 13. Not all fatherless families are the result of poor morals. “Welfare” came with the assumption that you should recognize your inferior status and grovel, so although eligible at one point, we did without it.

    I am probably out of place on this list because I find too much of what is said arrogant or ignorant.

  • helen

    Don S @ 19
    Helen @ 16: Your post is correct in one point. You know NOTHING about me.

    I apologize for making assumptions based on one post.
    I congratulate you on your son. Mine was a Navy carrier pilot in the first Gulf war.
    I had two cousins in “Naam” , one in Korea, and more relatives in WW II and in the Navy in the 30′s.

    It is a new thing to be called a “leftie” seemingly because I have some acquaintance with the lower percentiles of the US population!
    I am a [legal] immigrant’s daughter. I have a Master’s degree now, but nobody ever gave me a “minority” or any other “free ride” scholarship. My undergraduate tuition was paid with my father’s life insurance, a sacrifice for my mother. He died when I was 13. Not all fatherless families are the result of poor morals. “Welfare” came with the assumption that you should recognize your inferior status and grovel, so although eligible at one point, we did without it.

    I am probably out of place on this list because I find too much of what is said arrogant or ignorant.

  • helen

    A Berke Breathed comic strip carried a picture of a Bush nightmare, which was his twin daughters appearing in uniform, headed for Iraq. If all of government had an equal chance of themselves or their children being shot at in a war, there would be some serious reconsideration of the “need” for America to go to war, IMO. Maybe Congress would even start taking responsibility again for where and when we declare hostilities.

  • helen

    A Berke Breathed comic strip carried a picture of a Bush nightmare, which was his twin daughters appearing in uniform, headed for Iraq. If all of government had an equal chance of themselves or their children being shot at in a war, there would be some serious reconsideration of the “need” for America to go to war, IMO. Maybe Congress would even start taking responsibility again for where and when we declare hostilities.

  • Cincinnatus

    helen: Are you actually arguing for the reinstitution of conscription?!

  • Cincinnatus

    helen: Are you actually arguing for the reinstitution of conscription?!

  • Tom Hering

    I’m all for replacing “negroes” with “African Americans” in the text of King’s speech so it can be taught in schools along with a sanitized Huckleberry Finn. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    I’m all for replacing “negroes” with “African Americans” in the text of King’s speech so it can be taught in schools along with a sanitized Huckleberry Finn. :-D

  • Stephen

    Yeah, and I’m pretty sure every one was, like Cinncinatus, so unimpressed with King and that’s why they followed his lead and risked their lives to change the country. And that’s probably why he got shot, because he was so unimpressive. And oh yeah, his speeches are also remembered because they are such unimpressive examples of the uses of rhetoric and oratory. Yeah, it was that whole getting shot thing, that’s why we remember him. Yeah that’s it.

    Great observation Cinncinatus. Thanks for climbing down out of your ivory tower to deliver your message today.

  • Stephen

    Yeah, and I’m pretty sure every one was, like Cinncinatus, so unimpressed with King and that’s why they followed his lead and risked their lives to change the country. And that’s probably why he got shot, because he was so unimpressive. And oh yeah, his speeches are also remembered because they are such unimpressive examples of the uses of rhetoric and oratory. Yeah, it was that whole getting shot thing, that’s why we remember him. Yeah that’s it.

    Great observation Cinncinatus. Thanks for climbing down out of your ivory tower to deliver your message today.

  • trotk

    Cincinnatus, no matter where you are from, there is a “certain class of locals” that others don’t want to be around. The poor, the lazy, the offensive, the uncultured – these exist in every city and state and region.

    Unless they are such a high percentage of the population that this is all that a person experiences when in that area, it is pretty prejudicial to judge a whole region by the parts of society that one disapproves of most (or likes least).

    Like you (I live in the Appalachians), however, I love the lack of “sophisticated technology and industry. I am an agrarian at heart, and see the hearts and souls of men and women destroyed in factories, malls, and materialistic answers to the questions of the world.

    Peter, when you say that a region is poor because of bad work ethic, you are blaming the population for being lazy. You can’t really claim that this wasn’t what you were saying. And honestly, I don’t believe you have a clue as to whether or not people in the Appalachians work more, less, or harder than anyone else.

    Because you come from a family and area that is relatively prosperous, you have no idea what it is like to be born into a situation with almost no opportunity (unless you leave, which love for family and community keeps many from doing) and work one and a half or two jobs to feed your family, and yet still be poor. You look down your nose at the poor, and assume it is because they are lazy or stupid, because in your situation, only the lazy and stupid stay poor.

  • trotk

    Cincinnatus, no matter where you are from, there is a “certain class of locals” that others don’t want to be around. The poor, the lazy, the offensive, the uncultured – these exist in every city and state and region.

    Unless they are such a high percentage of the population that this is all that a person experiences when in that area, it is pretty prejudicial to judge a whole region by the parts of society that one disapproves of most (or likes least).

    Like you (I live in the Appalachians), however, I love the lack of “sophisticated technology and industry. I am an agrarian at heart, and see the hearts and souls of men and women destroyed in factories, malls, and materialistic answers to the questions of the world.

    Peter, when you say that a region is poor because of bad work ethic, you are blaming the population for being lazy. You can’t really claim that this wasn’t what you were saying. And honestly, I don’t believe you have a clue as to whether or not people in the Appalachians work more, less, or harder than anyone else.

    Because you come from a family and area that is relatively prosperous, you have no idea what it is like to be born into a situation with almost no opportunity (unless you leave, which love for family and community keeps many from doing) and work one and a half or two jobs to feed your family, and yet still be poor. You look down your nose at the poor, and assume it is because they are lazy or stupid, because in your situation, only the lazy and stupid stay poor.

  • Cincinnatus

    trotk@33:

    “Cincinnatus, no matter where you are from, there is a ‘certain class of locals’ that others don’t want to be around. The poor, the lazy, the offensive, the uncultured – these exist in every city and state and region.”

    Very true. But the “uncultured” of Appalachia are a very special kind of uncultured. And there are a lot of them.

    “Unless they are such a high percentage of the population that this is all that a person experiences when in that area, it is pretty prejudicial to judge a whole region by the parts of society that one disapproves of most (or likes least).”

    This too is very true. (Un)Fortunately, many years in the Southwest Virginia/Southern West Virginia area have proven that such folks are a high percentage of the population–at least in this particular section of Appalachia.

    But we agree heartily on the charm of Appalachia (and on the virtues of agrarianism), and I wish to see it preserved. Indeed, Appalachia was once known as a region of hard-working, thrifty, self-sufficient individuals, and to some extent this reputation is still valid. FDR, LBJ, and all the haughty, well-intentioned bureaucrats who have tried to “help” the region (by installing “technology” and “commerce” and “education” and all those things Porcell pompously cites) have earned nothing but my ire. All they accomplished was to displace the lives and living of thousands of families and, more to the point, created a vast dependency class that has rendered some parts of the region nigh-unlivable, or at least a sad spectacle. There ain’t no Social Security fraud like an Appalachian Social Security fraud. It’s, sadly, a region all too full of those who have lost their dignity, their opportunities, and their zest for life–all the things Appalachia was once so famous for, and in large part, I think it is fair to assign some of the blame to the federal government.

    Stephen@32: I did qualify my statement as a potshot, but in the interests of discussion, what, beyond delivering a few airy speeches, did MLK actually accomplish that merits a national holiday and a street named in his honor in every American city (especially in those Southern cities so eager to atone for past sins). Admittedly, my opinion is a bit colored (pun unintentional?) by the fact that my lovely home state of Virginia replaced Lee-Jackson Day–an official state holiday marked by the usual trappings and time free of labor, and, more importantly, a day honoring truly great mean who accomplished truly great things, regardless of whether you agree with the side they fought for–with MLK Day in a shameless attempt to capitulate to political correctness. Lest we forget, MLK was a philandering, semi-socialist demagogue who, in between arguing for reparations and other policies that harm rather than hinder racial harmony, happened to give a few neat and inspirational speeches. Moreover, he was one among many heroic men and women (of “both” races) who “fought” courageously for civil rights and integration. I’m overstating the case somewhat, but all in all, I’ve just never understood the hoopla over MLK in particular. Sure, he’s a fairly inspirational guy, but it seems a curious bit of revisionist history to elevate him to the pantheon of American heroes (a national holiday? really?) when there are so many others who are equally, if not more, deserving. I analogize my thoughts here to the case of JFK: a philandering, plagiarizing, lackluster President with criminal connections who botched essentially every major crisis during his tenure (the Bay of Pigs comes to mind, and very nearly the Cuban Missile Crisis). But yet we, as a nation, honor him as a great, almost heroic man; I can only hypothesize that this has something to do with his assassination? Meanwhile, other truly great 20th Century Presidents are comparatively unacknowledged (Eisenhower comes to mind in the context of this blog).

  • Cincinnatus

    trotk@33:

    “Cincinnatus, no matter where you are from, there is a ‘certain class of locals’ that others don’t want to be around. The poor, the lazy, the offensive, the uncultured – these exist in every city and state and region.”

    Very true. But the “uncultured” of Appalachia are a very special kind of uncultured. And there are a lot of them.

    “Unless they are such a high percentage of the population that this is all that a person experiences when in that area, it is pretty prejudicial to judge a whole region by the parts of society that one disapproves of most (or likes least).”

    This too is very true. (Un)Fortunately, many years in the Southwest Virginia/Southern West Virginia area have proven that such folks are a high percentage of the population–at least in this particular section of Appalachia.

    But we agree heartily on the charm of Appalachia (and on the virtues of agrarianism), and I wish to see it preserved. Indeed, Appalachia was once known as a region of hard-working, thrifty, self-sufficient individuals, and to some extent this reputation is still valid. FDR, LBJ, and all the haughty, well-intentioned bureaucrats who have tried to “help” the region (by installing “technology” and “commerce” and “education” and all those things Porcell pompously cites) have earned nothing but my ire. All they accomplished was to displace the lives and living of thousands of families and, more to the point, created a vast dependency class that has rendered some parts of the region nigh-unlivable, or at least a sad spectacle. There ain’t no Social Security fraud like an Appalachian Social Security fraud. It’s, sadly, a region all too full of those who have lost their dignity, their opportunities, and their zest for life–all the things Appalachia was once so famous for, and in large part, I think it is fair to assign some of the blame to the federal government.

    Stephen@32: I did qualify my statement as a potshot, but in the interests of discussion, what, beyond delivering a few airy speeches, did MLK actually accomplish that merits a national holiday and a street named in his honor in every American city (especially in those Southern cities so eager to atone for past sins). Admittedly, my opinion is a bit colored (pun unintentional?) by the fact that my lovely home state of Virginia replaced Lee-Jackson Day–an official state holiday marked by the usual trappings and time free of labor, and, more importantly, a day honoring truly great mean who accomplished truly great things, regardless of whether you agree with the side they fought for–with MLK Day in a shameless attempt to capitulate to political correctness. Lest we forget, MLK was a philandering, semi-socialist demagogue who, in between arguing for reparations and other policies that harm rather than hinder racial harmony, happened to give a few neat and inspirational speeches. Moreover, he was one among many heroic men and women (of “both” races) who “fought” courageously for civil rights and integration. I’m overstating the case somewhat, but all in all, I’ve just never understood the hoopla over MLK in particular. Sure, he’s a fairly inspirational guy, but it seems a curious bit of revisionist history to elevate him to the pantheon of American heroes (a national holiday? really?) when there are so many others who are equally, if not more, deserving. I analogize my thoughts here to the case of JFK: a philandering, plagiarizing, lackluster President with criminal connections who botched essentially every major crisis during his tenure (the Bay of Pigs comes to mind, and very nearly the Cuban Missile Crisis). But yet we, as a nation, honor him as a great, almost heroic man; I can only hypothesize that this has something to do with his assassination? Meanwhile, other truly great 20th Century Presidents are comparatively unacknowledged (Eisenhower comes to mind in the context of this blog).

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus @34

    Wow, you really do need to use paragraphs man. I have the same problem sometimes myself.

    Well, there were those marches that turned a lot of heads and proceeded in spite of death threats, encouraging and preaching nonviolence in the face of violence, bombings on his own home, terror and death among the people engaged in the struggle, his own repeated imprisonment, things he wrote, boycotts that ended in nonviolent civic change, and then leading the movement through to the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. He was immersed in all of this and was the iconic leader that kept it all moving forward for the most part in a non-violent way under his influence. You can dislike or disagree with the positive or negative outcomes of those things, but his impact on people’s lives is felt to this day. How many black Americans do you know anyway? Don’t ask me, ask them. Saying he was one among many is like saying General Eisenhower was one among many soldiers who defeated Hitler. It doesn’t wash.

    It’s fine to attack his personal peccadilloes if you think that has some kind of merit, but calling him a demagogue is a bit of a stretch I’d say. He didn’t sit back and make arm-chair pronouncements and then expect others to do his bidding. He stood at the front of the line, put himself out there and lead people. And he got killed for it.

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus @34

    Wow, you really do need to use paragraphs man. I have the same problem sometimes myself.

    Well, there were those marches that turned a lot of heads and proceeded in spite of death threats, encouraging and preaching nonviolence in the face of violence, bombings on his own home, terror and death among the people engaged in the struggle, his own repeated imprisonment, things he wrote, boycotts that ended in nonviolent civic change, and then leading the movement through to the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. He was immersed in all of this and was the iconic leader that kept it all moving forward for the most part in a non-violent way under his influence. You can dislike or disagree with the positive or negative outcomes of those things, but his impact on people’s lives is felt to this day. How many black Americans do you know anyway? Don’t ask me, ask them. Saying he was one among many is like saying General Eisenhower was one among many soldiers who defeated Hitler. It doesn’t wash.

    It’s fine to attack his personal peccadilloes if you think that has some kind of merit, but calling him a demagogue is a bit of a stretch I’d say. He didn’t sit back and make arm-chair pronouncements and then expect others to do his bidding. He stood at the front of the line, put himself out there and lead people. And he got killed for it.

  • Cincinnatus

    See? What I see you saying is that a) he gave some inspirational speeches and b) he got killed. Therefore, he is a True American Hero.

    I just don’t see it, but as you imply, it’s probably because I’m not black. Or something.

    Political correctness just puts me in a bad mood, I guess. Perhaps I don’t approve of the particular narrative of history the mavens and mandarins have chosen for us.

    (And my paragraphs–which are about the same length as yours–don’t seem unduly long; they’re quite short in a Word Document. Oh, what has the internet done to our capacity to read and focus!)

  • Cincinnatus

    See? What I see you saying is that a) he gave some inspirational speeches and b) he got killed. Therefore, he is a True American Hero.

    I just don’t see it, but as you imply, it’s probably because I’m not black. Or something.

    Political correctness just puts me in a bad mood, I guess. Perhaps I don’t approve of the particular narrative of history the mavens and mandarins have chosen for us.

    (And my paragraphs–which are about the same length as yours–don’t seem unduly long; they’re quite short in a Word Document. Oh, what has the internet done to our capacity to read and focus!)

  • Stephen

    Isn’t Mark Twain a great American writer who pretty much just wrote a bunch of stuff? Don’t his works have great cultural impact? What’s your point? Maybe that’s not the best example, but aren’t there writers you believe to be pivotal or influential simply because of their books, and it is that which makes them and their work great, seminal, and important? Aren’t these writers celebrated in various ways? Is there any denying King’s impact as a leader and that impact on our nation? I hardly think so. Even if it was only that he spoke mere words eloquently, he also did it willingly and at great peril and everyone knew that. What he represents is a tidal wave of change.

    Your paragraphs are twice as long as mine, just so you know.

  • Stephen

    Isn’t Mark Twain a great American writer who pretty much just wrote a bunch of stuff? Don’t his works have great cultural impact? What’s your point? Maybe that’s not the best example, but aren’t there writers you believe to be pivotal or influential simply because of their books, and it is that which makes them and their work great, seminal, and important? Aren’t these writers celebrated in various ways? Is there any denying King’s impact as a leader and that impact on our nation? I hardly think so. Even if it was only that he spoke mere words eloquently, he also did it willingly and at great peril and everyone knew that. What he represents is a tidal wave of change.

    Your paragraphs are twice as long as mine, just so you know.

  • Kimett Geist

    I think that America was a great idea. Unfortuantely it was only and idea. We’ve been in existence for a mere 230 plus years. We were put together by a bunch of sinners like ourselves. We have little left of what we first became and we take ourselves far too seriously. Oh yes, we are probably the most ignorant nation of people as respects human history on the planet.
    We should all read the book of Ecclesiastes, the history of the kings and queens of England, grab a good beer and lighten up.
    Jesus is our Prophet Priest and True King.

  • Kimett Geist

    I think that America was a great idea. Unfortuantely it was only and idea. We’ve been in existence for a mere 230 plus years. We were put together by a bunch of sinners like ourselves. We have little left of what we first became and we take ourselves far too seriously. Oh yes, we are probably the most ignorant nation of people as respects human history on the planet.
    We should all read the book of Ecclesiastes, the history of the kings and queens of England, grab a good beer and lighten up.
    Jesus is our Prophet Priest and True King.

  • Porcell

    Trotk, on the matter of work ethic in Appalachia, I was on the board of a corporation that had a plant in southeast Kentucky, due to an executive who actually wanted to help the area by locating the plant there. I regret to say that we closed the plant partly due to not being able find sufficiently skilled labor and partly due to a lot of absenteeism during the fishing and hunting seasons. Perhaps this was an anomalous phenomenon, though I doubt it.

    I understand the folk in Appalachia have a certain cultural simplicity and charm. Our company funded a local Union College professor there who researched the classic Anglo Saxon pronunciation and folk music in remote areas.

    On this thread, I was responding to FWS’s comment at 14 that the War on Poverty significantly helped the region. It might have alleviated it to some extent but had no lasting impact.

  • Porcell

    Trotk, on the matter of work ethic in Appalachia, I was on the board of a corporation that had a plant in southeast Kentucky, due to an executive who actually wanted to help the area by locating the plant there. I regret to say that we closed the plant partly due to not being able find sufficiently skilled labor and partly due to a lot of absenteeism during the fishing and hunting seasons. Perhaps this was an anomalous phenomenon, though I doubt it.

    I understand the folk in Appalachia have a certain cultural simplicity and charm. Our company funded a local Union College professor there who researched the classic Anglo Saxon pronunciation and folk music in remote areas.

    On this thread, I was responding to FWS’s comment at 14 that the War on Poverty significantly helped the region. It might have alleviated it to some extent but had no lasting impact.

  • trotk

    Peter, the situation you describe sounds like it would make a great movie. Those stubborn mountain folk refusing to see what a great boon is being brought to their mountains! If they would only show up and work, instead of spending all their time in the woods with a gun and a jug of whiskey!

    I am sorry that you judge the whole region to be lazy based on this one experience.

    In terms of the War on Poverty, you are profoundly mistaken. Keep in mind that I, like Cincinnatus, don’t necessarily believe that the consequences of ARC (Appalachian Regional Commission) have been good overall, but the statistics are worth noting:

    1965 – Creation of ARC (219 economically distressed counties in Appalachia)
    2010 – 82 economically distressed counties in Appalachia (half in Kentucky)

    It seems that ARC (the War on Poverty) has had a profound impact on the wealth of the area.

  • trotk

    Peter, the situation you describe sounds like it would make a great movie. Those stubborn mountain folk refusing to see what a great boon is being brought to their mountains! If they would only show up and work, instead of spending all their time in the woods with a gun and a jug of whiskey!

    I am sorry that you judge the whole region to be lazy based on this one experience.

    In terms of the War on Poverty, you are profoundly mistaken. Keep in mind that I, like Cincinnatus, don’t necessarily believe that the consequences of ARC (Appalachian Regional Commission) have been good overall, but the statistics are worth noting:

    1965 – Creation of ARC (219 economically distressed counties in Appalachia)
    2010 – 82 economically distressed counties in Appalachia (half in Kentucky)

    It seems that ARC (the War on Poverty) has had a profound impact on the wealth of the area.

  • Porcell

    I suppose that might make a fetching romantic story, though the sad reality was that a well meant company closed a plant with about seven-hundred jobs that paid well above national-average wages.

    I don’t know the criteria for distressed area, though my guess that a large part of any economic improvement was related to the by and large excellent overall economic development from about 1980 through 2000. If the ARC is an effective government outfit, it would be a rather unusual one. According to a 2004 AP report:

    … after nearly 40 years and almost $10 billion in federal spending, only eight of the 410 counties in Appalachia are equal to or better than the national average on indicators such as per-capita income, poverty and unemployment rates.

  • Porcell

    I suppose that might make a fetching romantic story, though the sad reality was that a well meant company closed a plant with about seven-hundred jobs that paid well above national-average wages.

    I don’t know the criteria for distressed area, though my guess that a large part of any economic improvement was related to the by and large excellent overall economic development from about 1980 through 2000. If the ARC is an effective government outfit, it would be a rather unusual one. According to a 2004 AP report:

    … after nearly 40 years and almost $10 billion in federal spending, only eight of the 410 counties in Appalachia are equal to or better than the national average on indicators such as per-capita income, poverty and unemployment rates.


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