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Friday, October 23, 2009

CHAPTER SIXTY NINE. THE KING OF PEACE



Written by: Rick Staggenborg, MD on Jan 18, 2010 3:21 PM PST

This essay is dedicated to the millions of black men and women who suffered under the yoke of slavery in America before this nation atoned through a painful Civil War for the original sin of allowing slavery to exist in the land of the “free.” No man is free when others are not.



America was a house divided in the 1960s, when the battle to free the Black people of America began in earnest. The great American hero Martin Luther King, Jr. led the righteous men and women who at great personal risk fought this battle to victory. The war for freedom is not over, but the hard-fought victories of King and his Army of followers and allies set the stage for the election of America’s first Black President. For the first time in 30 years I hung my flag again, certain that change was coming and with the help of God almighty we would all be free at last. Trusting in the good will and common sense of the American people, I believed that we would start a new civil rights movement for the right of health care for all. The movement has begun, but we are far from the battle strength we need to achieve for all-out war on the corporatocracy that has a stranglehold on America and its people.

King taught us that the power of belief and the firm will to fight for victory is all that is needed to scale the mountain and see the shining city on the next hill that Reagan promised us. Now that we know that Reagan was mistaken in his belief that self-interest inevitably led to the greatest good for the greatest number of Americans, we must look to the past for the example of a leader worthy of emulating. 

King’s role model was none other than Jesus Christ himself. For the Jew, it might be Abraham or Moses. The Muslim would do well to remember that Mohammed was said to have spoken for God when he said that we are all People of the Book, worthy of equal respect and justice. To become an effective advocate for justice for Palestine and Muslims everywhere, devout but angry Muslims must abandon what often self-interested Imams have termed jihad. They would do well  remember that Mohammad said on that Allah wants us to remember that jihad means not just war but "struggle."  He taught that the first and greatest jihad is to fight the tendency to follow our own selfish natures and thus distance ourselves from God out of faithlessness and a shortsighted concept of self-interest. He taught that only in doing what is good for all will the individual know God’s paradise.

King’s power came from his firm conviction that pacifism is the only way to prevail over evil. His belief in the essential goodness of man gave him the strength to willingly face death knowing that he was in fact immortal. This power freed India from Imperial rule by England and The American Black from the outrageous indignity of subjugation by a White majority with the backing of the American government. 

The victory came in both cases because good men and women of all colors of skin refused to stand by and let the injustice continue. Americans then remembered that the nation had  fought a war where England attempted to appease the fascists before being forced to fight. Jews were allowed to be systematically exterminated because no one realized early on that Hitler would eventually come for them,. Americans must again remember their history and move the nation forward to a future where freedom is a basic right for all.

The average American seems to have forgotten the lessons the civil rights movement taught us. It was only when Whites and Browns fought side by side with Blacks that the tide turned. At that point in American history only Whites had the political power and to enforce the Fourteenth amendment on behalf of the still subjugated Black population of America. 

Whatever Johnson's faults in escalating the war in Vietnam, we should never forget that he led this fight in the Senate at great cost to the future of the Democratic Party and its staunch Southern supporters. No one man or women is perfect and Jesus does not appear to now be in the US Senate waiting to save us. 

We must build on victories in the past to forge a more perfect union today. Those of all faiths must stand together to make the point that a future of peace depends on recognizing that no religion is immune to corruption by powerful interests. A bloodthirsty Mahdi Army would only make things worse for all Muslims, just as the cry for blood in the fundamentalist Christian community at the outbreak of the Iraq war has made things worse for all Americans. It is up to us to save ourselves from economic, moral and physical self-destruction.

Even as the moral majority of Americans fought to eradicate the evil of the enduring enslavement of Black Americans, they were fighting a more insidious battle against enslavement by their own fear. Communism was the chosen focus of our fear that kept us from questioning the motives of our leaders from WWI to the fall of the Berlin wall. 

The American people were led willingly from one war of choice to another, while peace protesters were jailed and imprisoned from former presidential candidate Eugene Debs to Mohammed Ali. When will frightened conservatives realize that we are not fighting for America when we oppose change necessary to move our nation forward? To support the use of war to enforce the will of the plutocracy that owns our government  is to  fight for the corporatists who would readily enslave us.  Their only goal is holding on to their ill-gotten wealth and power in perpetuity. In its complicty, our Congress is fiddling with reform while America burns.

CEOs care nothing for justice in the form of creating living wage jobs, assuring environmental responsibility or moral stewardship of the welfare of workers, stockholders or the nation. They greedily scheme to falsely prop up earning statements on which their bonuses are based. They feel no moral compulsion to even ensure the long term vitality of their corporate charges. Their incestuous relationships with other CEOs who serve as Board members ensures that they can always escape with a golden parachute, landing softly at the helm of another corporate money machine. They can drive that one into a ditch as well, knowing that they will be protected by the American taxpayer  thanks to the insurance money they pay to keep their Senate tools grateful for the privilege of having a job working for them at the expense of the taxpayer.

The new abolitionist understands that all that is rotten in the state of America is due to the crime of the Supreme Court in giving constitutional rights to the fictitious entity known in law as a the corporate “person.” Cynically ignoring decades of precedent, activist Courts since the early 19th century have tilted the playing field in favor of psychopathic “persons” who exist only to generate immediate profit for those who control them. The rallying cry of today’s abolitionist must be: Abolish Corporate Personhood! The US is again a house divided, and a house divided against itself cannot stand. A nation cannot long endure half-slave and half-free, for it will soon become all one or the other.

All that it takes for the evil of universal slavery to occur is for good men and women to do nothing. If corporate power continues to grow unchecked, the perpetrators and their victims will both be locked into perpetual servitude and there will be blood in the streets. The blood will be that of angry tea partiers, progressive activists and corporatists alike. If American communism does not result, we may see American fascism as the rich employ Blackwater defend them in their gated enclaves. Neither they nor us will be free. Many of the poor would willingly fight as mercenaries in this war against the belatedly awakened public for a crust of bread. The system of welfare that keeps many of the poor complacent will break down as the money machine grinds to a halt, worn out from misuse and lack of maintenance.It is doubtful that the United States could withstand the bloodshed of violent Revolution if the economic aristocracy ends the New Deal that has protected us since the last Great Depression caused by their endless greed and lust for power and status.

We do not have to stage a new Revolution to regain our democracy. The American Revolution has never truly ended. We simply need to look for ourselves at the historical record and realize that we have been systematically lied to in our schools, in the corporate media and by our politicians about what America stands for. We have already paid the price in blood shed for freeing ourselves from corporate domination represented by the east India Company and its royalist stockholders.  This battle will be fought on the streets with no weapon but the truth, and the truth will finally set us free.






Please sing with me this song by Charles Tindley:




We shall overcome
We shall overcome
We shall overcome some day


Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome some day


We'll walk hand in hand
We'll walk hand in hand
We'll walk hand in hand some day


CHORUS


We shall all be free
We shall all be free
We shall all be free some day


CHORUS


We are not afraid
We are not afraid
We are not afraid some day


CHORUS


We are not alone
We are not alone
We are not alone some day


CHORUS


The whole wide world around
The whole wide world around
The whole wide world around some day


CHORUS


We shall overcome
We shall overcome
We shall overcome some day






Rick Staggenborg, MD


Newport, Oregon

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