[Hpn] Honoring that rabble-rouser, Martin Luther King Jr.

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Sat, 19 Jan 2008 21:05:33 -0500


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http://www.statesmanjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=3D/20080119/BLO=
GS02/80119011/1046/OPINION

Honoring that rabble-rouser, Martin Luther King Jr.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Here is a draft of Monday's editorial:

We won't pretend to know what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would =
be saying if he were alive today.

We won't quote his speeches or re-interpret them in light of =
contemporary events. We won't claim that any one cause or any one person =
is heir to his ideas.

We will only suggest this one point: If Martin Luther King Jr. were =
alive, he'd be making each of us mighty uncomfortable.

As he should.

America turned the late Dr. King into a martyr. And then we neutered his =
legacy.

We turned him into an icon we trotted out to celebrate civil rights one =
day a year, or to sell cars or to make points on the political campaign =
trail.

Though we dare not speak for him, we can't imagine that this is how he =
would want to be remembered on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

He wasn't a feel-good pastor. He was an activist, an agitator, a =
minister who believed so deeply in the Gospels that he took them out of =
the pulpit into the streets.

If we want to honor King, we'll follow his path. We'll leave our chairs, =
our sofas, our endless meetings and strategy sessions, and go into the =
streets.

We'll agitate.

We'll start by confronting our own prejudices that someone is different =
- not as good as us - because his or her skin color or dress or speech =
is different from our own. We'll begin to understand that Oregon, for =
all its surface friendliness, holds an undercurrent of racism that runs =
deeper than in the modern South.

We'll spend time with people who don't look, talk or act like us. We'll =
give them the same respect we want for ourselves. Along the way, maybe =
we'll recognize that we're losing good people - good employees, good =
students, good neighbors, good customers - because of our subtle, =
grievously unfair judgments based on skin color.

And we'll serve.

We'll follow the lead of Willamette University, which has canceled =
classes this afternoon so students, faculty and staff can go into the =
streets.

We'll take blankets to the homeless on these bitterly cold days. Then =
we'll do better; we'll open our churches and kitchens and businesses to =
the homeless, even as that simple act of kindness makes us uncomfortable =
and uncertain.

We'll prepare to march on the Oregon Capitol and nag our legislators =
until they address the substandard educational and occupational =
opportunities that afflict many Oregonians.

But we'll do more than demand equal opportunity in our schools and =
businesses. We'll set that example in our hiring and teaching decisions. =
We'll give opportunities to young people seeking their first job, to =
ex-prisoners seeking a new start, to people who don't fit the company =
mold.

We'll work side-by-side to mentor students, interns and new employees. =
We'll go into homes with books and read to kids in day-care centers. And =
because many people don't have homes, we'll join with Habitat for =
Humanity and other groups to refurbish or build houses.

And while we're doing this, we'll encourage our neighbors and =
congregations and community groups to speak up about poverty and =
injustice and war, just as King did, even when those views clash with =
our own.

Martin Luther King was a rabble-rouser, an activist, a doer. But we =
can't know, "What would King say today?" We can only ask, "What will we =
do?"

***

Please send any comments or suggestions about this editorial to the lead =
writer, Editorial Page Editor Dick Hughes, at =
dhughes@StatesmanJournal.com  or to the Editorial Board at =
Salemed@StatesmanJournal.com.










William Charles Tinker, Sr.
New Hampshire Homeless=20
Founded 11-28-99
25 Granite Street=20
Northfield,N.H. 03276-1640 USA=20
Advocates,activists for disabled,displaced human rights.=20
1-603-286-2492=20
http://www.missingkids.com=20
http://www.nationalhomeless.org=20
http://www.newhampshirehomeless.org=20
http://www.newhampshirehomeless-subscribe@topica.com 
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<P class=3Dsjarticle-headline><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2><A=20
href=3D"http://www.statesmanjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=3D/2008=
0119/BLOGS02/80119011/1046/OPINION">http://www.statesmanjournal.com/apps/=
pbcs.dll/article?AID=3D/20080119/BLOGS02/80119011/1046/OPINION</A></FONT>=
</P>
<P class=3Dsjarticle-headline>Honoring that rabble-rouser, Martin Luther =
King=20
Jr.</P>
<P class=3Dsjarticle-pubdate style=3D"MARGIN-BOTTOM: 3px">Saturday, =
January 19,=20
2008</P>
<P class=3Dsjarticle-copy>Here is a draft of Monday's =
editorial:<BR><BR>We won't=20
pretend to know what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be saying =
if he=20
were alive today.<BR><BR>We won=92t quote his speeches or re-interpret =
them in=20
light of contemporary events. We won=92t claim that any one cause or any =
one=20
person is heir to his ideas.<BR><BR>We will only suggest this one point: =
If=20
Martin Luther King Jr. were alive, he=92d be making each of us mighty=20
uncomfortable.<BR><BR>As he should.<BR><BR>America turned the late Dr. =
King into=20
a martyr. And then we neutered his legacy.<BR><BR>We turned him into an =
icon we=20
trotted out to celebrate civil rights one day a year, or to sell cars or =
to make=20
points on the political campaign trail.<BR><BR>Though we dare not speak =
for him,=20
we can=92t imagine that this is how he would want to be remembered on =
Martin=20
Luther King Jr. Day.<BR><BR>He wasn=92t a feel-good pastor. He was an =
activist, an=20
agitator, a minister who believed so deeply in the Gospels that he took =
them out=20
of the pulpit into the streets.<BR><BR>If we want to honor King, we=92ll =
follow=20
his path. We=92ll leave our chairs, our sofas, our endless meetings and =
strategy=20
sessions, and go into the streets.<BR><BR>We=92ll =
agitate.<BR><BR>We=92ll start by=20
confronting our own prejudices that someone is different =97 not as good =
as us =97=20
because his or her skin color or dress or speech is different from our =
own.=20
We=92ll begin to understand that Oregon, for all its surface =
friendliness, holds=20
an undercurrent of racism that runs deeper than in the modern=20
South.<BR><BR>We=92ll spend time with people who don=92t look, talk or =
act like us.=20
We=92ll give them the same respect we want for ourselves. Along the way, =
maybe=20
we=92ll recognize that we=92re losing good people =97 good employees, =
good students,=20
good neighbors, good customers =97 because of our subtle, grievously =
unfair=20
judgments based on skin color.<BR><BR>And we=92ll serve.<BR><BR>We=92ll =
follow the=20
lead of Willamette University, which has canceled classes this afternoon =
so=20
students, faculty and staff can go into the streets.<BR><BR>We=92ll take =
blankets=20
to the homeless on these bitterly cold days. Then we=92ll do better; =
we=92ll open=20
our churches and kitchens and businesses to the homeless, even as that =
simple=20
act of kindness makes us uncomfortable and uncertain.<BR><BR>We=92ll =
prepare to=20
march on the Oregon Capitol and nag our legislators until they address =
the=20
substandard educational and occupational opportunities that afflict many =

Oregonians.<BR><BR>But we=92ll do more than demand equal opportunity in =
our=20
schools and businesses. We=92ll set that example in our hiring and =
teaching=20
decisions. We=92ll give opportunities to young people seeking their =
first job, to=20
ex-prisoners seeking a new start, to people who don=92t fit the company=20
mold.<BR><BR>We=92ll work side-by-side to mentor students, interns and =
new=20
employees. We=92ll go into homes with books and read to kids in day-care =
centers.=20
And because many people don=92t have homes, we=92ll join with Habitat =
for Humanity=20
and other groups to refurbish or build houses.<BR><BR>And while we=92re =
doing=20
this, we=92ll encourage our neighbors and congregations and community =
groups to=20
speak up about poverty and injustice and war, just as King did, even =
when those=20
views clash with our own.<BR><BR>Martin Luther King was a rabble-rouser, =
an=20
activist, a doer. But we can=92t know, =93What would King say today?=94 =
We can only=20
ask, =93What will we do?=94<BR><BR>***<BR><BR>Please send any comments =
or=20
suggestions about this editorial to the lead writer, Editorial Page =
Editor Dick=20
Hughes, at <A=20
href=3D"mailto:dhughes@StatesmanJournal.com">dhughes@StatesmanJournal.com=
</A>=20
&nbsp;or to the Editorial Board at <A=20
href=3D"mailto:Salemed@StatesmanJournal.com">Salemed@StatesmanJournal.com=
</A>.</P>
<P class=3Dsjarticle-copy>&nbsp;</P>
<P class=3Dsjarticle-copy><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</P>
<P class=3Dsjarticle-copy><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</P>
<P class=3Dsjarticle-copy><FONT face=3DArial =
size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</P></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2><BR>William Charles Tinker, Sr.<BR>New =
Hampshire=20
Homeless <BR>Founded 11-28-99<BR>25 Granite Street <BR>Northfield,N.H.=20
03276-1640 USA <BR>Advocates,activists for disabled,displaced human =
rights.=20
<BR>1-603-286-2492 <BR><A=20
href=3D"http://www.missingkids.com">http://www.missingkids.com</A> =
<BR><A=20
href=3D"http://www.nationalhomeless.org">http://www.nationalhomeless.org<=
/A>=20
<BR><A=20
href=3D"http://www.newhampshirehomeless.org">http://www.newhampshirehomel=
ess.org</A>=20
<BR><A=20
href=3D"http://www.newhampshirehomeless-subscribe@topica.com">http://www.=
newhampshirehomeless-subscribe@topica.com</A>=20
</FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>

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