To celebrate Martin Luther King Jr Day, I read the "Letter from Birmingham Jail," the "I have a Dream" speech, the "Beyond Vietnam" speech, see the video of his last speech in Memphis shortly before he was killed. It is about our revolution, continuation of what he inspired: Civil Rights, the Anti-War Movement, the Farm Workers Movement, the Counter Culture, the Poor People's campaign, the Chicano and Black movements, Women's Liberation/Men's Liberation, the Environmental Movement, and much more. Contemporaries, I read and saw, heard broadcasts of his words as soon as they were published or said — and I took them to heart. It was clear: our revolution was non-violent, rooted in love, anxious for justice, for peace, the Earth, inexorable.
We know the story; the back-lash came soon, the "conservative revolution" of the far right, neo-conservative with a smattering of neo-liberal (often difficult to distinguish one from the other) presidents and administrations increasingly neo-fascistic, criminal — until full-blown POTUS 45, a fascist Senate to back him, and a fascist-compromised Supreme Court with only the House of Representatives to resist a fully authoritarian fascist state. And all we had gained for justice now at stake. Let us call things for what they are.
And now our revolution surges and it is we, our voice Senator Bernie Sanders who has never wavered in the cause of justice, reason, compassion in all the years that he has held office and who would have defeated POTUS 45 in the last election had he been permitted by the establishment to be the democratic candidate.
We saw the Democratic debate on CNN last week January 14 for the charade it was, pitting Elizabeth Warren against Bernie Sanders, the two best candidates who offer any really significant change (though Warren, admitted "Capitalist to [her] bones" less likely) over nothing of substance, an obvious ploy to divide and undermine the progressive Democrats. And when Sanders spoke of health care for all, free public higher education, a green new deal to do something concrete to curb climate change, Biden and Buttigieg (both beholden to corporate donations and darlings of the "establishment" Democratic Party) objected, "How are you going to pay for it? We can't afford it," a question they would never ask of the obscene billions wasted on "defense," the Orwellian term for perpetual war benefitting only the ruling 1%.
It was the eve of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday and in Sander's assertion "it's not about me; it's about us, our revolution," I caught echoes of what King had said. I thought of the children at our southern border torn from their mothers', fathers' arms, put in cages, dispersed. I think of so many suffering illness, unable to afford a doctor or medicine, about the homeless in tents under our freeways, of constant war. The seas grow hot, Brazil and Australia burn, Mont Blanc melts, ready to come down, the poles are melting as are the glaciers everywhere, hurricanes and tornadoes grow in intensity and frequency, islands disappear in the rising waters, species daily become extinct.
Business as usual is no longer an option. The revolution is now, not of guns and violence, but of a fierce love, of consciousness, a change of heart. I think of Martin Luther King, our revolution.
make our revolution