Archive for: January 15th, 2018

Opinion
Martin Luther King Jr.’s enduring legacy: ‘Beyond Vietnam’
January 15, 2018
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Sometimes words remain appropriate, not only for the era in which they are spoken, but for multiple eras, and perhaps for the length of humanity’s struggle to overcome the worst aspects of our collective nature – greed, avarice, hypocrisy and the bondage of others to forward one’s own self interests – in other words, FOREVER. 

Martin Luther King Jr.’s words of April 4, 1967 now known as the “Beyond Vietnam” speech are such words.  They illustrate the depth of Dr. King’s comprehension that the Civil Rights Movement was a struggle of more than one race in one nation at one point in time.  

These words, spoken exactly one year to the day before his assassination, are why some pause each January to remember and celebrate his life; while others are simply reminded of why he was, and continues to be hated by those attracted to power without compassion. 

As last year when we first printed them on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, in this first month of 2018 these words remain pointedly appropriate as our national debate increasingly focuses on racial, ethnic, religious and national stereotyping as primary motives for immigration and foreign policy decisions.  And yet again we might ask ourselves if our ongoing borderless, worldwide war on terror isn’t at least in part, a legacy of our collective failure to heed Dr. King’s words of April 1967? 

And 51 years down the road, we must ask ourselves one final question – how close to “too late” are we as a people and a nation? 

Due to the speech’s length, some introductory comments and other details on the Vietnam era have been edited out – deletions are indicated by (…) and some points have been emphasized with bold highlights. 

There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. – Martin Luther King, Jr. (Photos/Public Domain)

Martin Luther King, Jr. 

‘Beyond Vietnam 

I come to this great magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization that brought us together, Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam. The recent statements of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart, and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” … The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one … 

Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time 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 … Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.  And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation’s history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history … For we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us … 

“Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King?” “Why are you joining the voices of dissent?” “Peace and civil rights don’t mix,” they say. “Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people,” they ask? 

And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live …  

Since I am a preacher by calling, 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 this program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything on 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 … 

My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettos 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 the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent … 

Now it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read “Vietnam.” It can never be saved so long as it destroys the hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that “America will be” are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land. 

As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1964. And I cannot forget that the Nobel Peace Prize was also a commission, a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for the brotherhood of man. This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances. 

But even if it were not present, I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me, the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the Good News was meant for all men – for communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the one who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the Vietcong or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this one? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life? 

… Finally, as I try to explain for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place, I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of son-ship and brotherhood. Because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned, especially for His suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them. This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation, for those it calls “enemy,” for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers. 

And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond in compassion, my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula … They must see Americans as strange liberators  … We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops … Now there is little left to build on, save bitterness … They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. Their questions are frighteningly relevant. Is our nation planning to build on political myth again, and then shore it up upon the power of new violence? 

… At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless in Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called “enemy,” I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved … and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor. 

Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. 

If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

I speak as a child of God … I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours. 

This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words, and I quote: “Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism.” 

The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit … and if we ignore this sobering reality, we will find ourselves organizing “clergy and laymen concerned” committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about … Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end, unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. 

And so, such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God. In 1957, a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution … It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. 

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin … the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. 

A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, “This is not just.” 

It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, “This is not just.” 

The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them, is not just … America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood … 

We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. – Martin Luther King Jr.

We must not engage in a negative anti-communism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice … It is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries … A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies … This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind … When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response … I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality … This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: “Let us love one another, for love is God” … 

We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too lateOver the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, “Too late.” 

There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. Omar Khayyam is right: “The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on.”  We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace … and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors.  If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight … Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world … 

As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated: 

Once to every man and nation comes a moment do decide,
In the strife of truth and Falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God’s new Messiah offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever ‘twixt that darkness and that light. 

Though the cause of evil prosper, yet ‘tis truth alone is strong
Though her portions be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own. 

And if we will only make the right choice, we will be able to transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of peace. If we will make the right choice, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. 

Local News Town Events
Free community breakfast Saturday open to all, aims to identify, assist homeless
January 15, 2018
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A volunteer serves a meal at a previous event. /File photo.

FRONT ROYAL – A free community breakfast will be held on  Saturday, Jan. 20 from 8 a.m. to noon at the  Calvary Episcopal Church, Parish Hall (2nd St. behind Church) at 132 North Royal Ave. in town.

Linda Allen, coordinator for the event, said in a media release,  “All are welcome. We want the breakfast to be a meet-and-greet vehicle to strengthen the community, pool info on how we can identify and assist those going through a homeless experience, and get word out about the ‘Point in Time
Count,’ which is the collection of data HUD uses to allocate funds to our region.

These funds go to housing assistance, mental health services, and shelter placement. Funds are allocated by the ‘Continuum of Care,’ which doles out the money to local, approved organizations.”

The purpose of the ‘Drop-In Café’ , which operates under the nonprofit Center for Workforce Development, is to feed, listen and talk with those experiencing hardships.

Ms. Allen said that in cooperation with other organizations, the group will  “assist in submitting local and state forms to connect individuals to resources for financial help, food, and job training.”

She said the group can also assist with  resume writing, helping the homeless keep medical appointments and manage medical records,  provide
assistance in finding jobs and can provide clothing and sleeping bags, if needed.

“The short term goal is to keep people warm and dry. The long term objective is to develop a shelter for women and families as well as a thermal shelter during the winter months,” the release states.

Linda Allen said in an interview Monday morning that, “This winter has been particularly brutal.  We have homeless who are living outside and something MUST be done!”

She says that donations of items such as tents, warm socks, gloves, thermal underwear, personal care/hygiene items for men and women and gift cards (from local stores where needed items can be purchased) are currently needed and greatly appreciated.  Monetary donations are also appreciated, and tax-deductible, as the Center for Workforce Development is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

For more information, or to volunteer or arrange pick-up of a donation, contact Ms. Allen at 540-550-0110.

Local News
National Park Service waives entrance fees on Martin Luther King Jr. Day
January 15, 2018
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Mary’s Rock/ Photo provided by U.S. National Park Service

The National Park Service is celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day by waiving entrance fees.

The “fee-free” day on Monday covers entrance fees, commercial tour fees and transportation entrance fees, though camping and tour fees may still apply.

National Parks in Virginia waiving fees on Monday include:

•Assateague Island National Seashore
•Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park
•George Washington Memorial Parkway’s Great Falls Park
•Prince William Forest Park
•Shenandoah National Park

A full list of National Park sites is available on the Find Your Park website.

Business
Why making websites mobile-friendly is important
January 15, 2018
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People are more attached to their smartphones than ever but recent analysis from Alliance Data shows that although 63 percent of millennials shop on them every day, only 39 percent of their total purchases are actually made online.
This trend is alarming news for online stores and vendors that are eager to get this targeted demographic to follow through on their online purchases. This data is also a little puzzling because this same age group is much more likely to use their phones to research products, comparison shop, and look for coupons online before heading into the physical store to buy the merchandise.

According to recent data from Osterman Research, online security could play a significant role in determining whether or not someone actually buys their goods online. They cite the 42.2 percent of millennials in America that have limited their purchases due to security concerns. Any data shared over the internet carries with it some risk of identity theft or fraud. In this case, increased use of security-focused shopping portals, coupled with better transparency of the website itself could help pave the way for peace of mind.

Perhaps more likely, CNET argues that many people turn to physical stores to complete their purchases simply because it can still be quite frustrating to input all the required information on a tiny smartphone keypad. Names, email addresses, passwords, physical addresses, and credit card numbers entered during checkout is a tedious process for all but the savviest users. Even using a desktop makes the process much more comfortable and the pictures are easier to view and navigate to boot.

For online retailers to secure their shoppers’ attention and wallets, the process of adding items to carts and checking out should be as seamless as possible. Integrating many different types of payment options, such as Paypal or Apple Pay, would also help entice people who trust a dedicated payment platform over an online storefront.

Seasonal
To remember a dream: the importance of non-violence
January 15, 2018
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In 1986 it was declared that every third Monday in January would mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This federal holiday has since been celebrated as an occasion to promote tolerance and equal rights for all, regardless of background, race or religion. On such a day, it’s important to remember who Dr. King was and what he did for the progress of this country through non-violent activism.

WHO WAS MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.?
He was an American clergyman and civil-rights leader who played a leading role in the desegregation of the Montgomery bus system in 1956. His civil interests ranged from equal rights to concerns over poverty and even criticism of the Vietnam War. His philosophy of nonviolence sought to teach us that the only way to fight hate is through love, and that you don’t need guns to change the course of human history.

WHAT ARE THE PRINCIPLES OF NON-VIOLENCE?
Non-violence:
• Is a way of life for courageous people
• Seeks to win friendship and understanding
• Holds that voluntary suffering can educate and transform
• Chooses love over hate

Martin Luther King Jr. believed that the only way to defeat injustice was through education. He believed that people shouldn’t be judged by the color of their skin, but rather by the contents of their character. We celebrate this day to remember the civil injustices our country faced
and to ensure we stay on the path to a brighter, more inclusive future.

Local News
Warren County Democratic Chair urges citizens to keep pressure on elected officials
January 15, 2018
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FRONT ROYAL – The Warren County Democratic Committee held a party caucus in town, on Jan. 6, 2018 at which time officers were elected. Warren County resident Steve Foreman was re-elected chair. Also elected were Meredith Parnes, vice-chair, Diane Demarcus, secretary, and Barry Gaffney, treasurer.

Foreman said by email Saturday, that in light of the latest remarks from the President and  near total silence from both the Republican leadership and Republicans who attended the meeting, he is urging voters to contact their legislators.

“Our members of Congress will not respond unless we pressure them. The only thing they understand is power, and our power is at the ballot box,” Mr. Foreman said.

A  letter Foreman wrote to Rep. Bob Goodlatte, (R-VA), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who was present at that White House meeting is below:

“Unless I have somehow missed seeing a comment from Rep. Goodlatte, I am dismayed to see that the Representative has not gone on record opposing the consistent stream of hate and disinformation that continually issues from President Trump. At the beginning, and throughout his presidential campaign, we saw a constant stream of racism, which came to what appeared to be a crescendo in the wake of the events in Charlottesville last fall. “Unfortunately, this was not the worst of it. We now have the president spewing more hate during a meeting at which Mr. Goodlatte was present (on 1/11/2018). Our elected representatives are not only supposed to be working for us, but should project the best that we can be as a nation.

“We can only assume that the Republican Party is in tacit agreement with the President in his indiscriminate hatred for those different from him and that they do not disagree with the image of America projected worldwide, identifying with the worst common denominator that exists in this country. I wish that I could believe that the Republican Party did not support these dangerous views, but failing any public disassociation with them, I must conclude that they share these beliefs. This failure of leadership suggests the lack of a moral compass and a willingness to subvert principles in exchange for political power.”

Royal Examiner reached out to Rep. Goodlatte’s office but received no response prior to publication.