Veterans For Peace calls on the nation to celebrate the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today by learning from his legacy and heeding his words. As peacemakers and justice seekers we believe it is not enough to honor Dr. King by applauding gains our nation has made toward fulfilling is dream. We must also acknowledge that we have fallen far short of his vision of peace and justice and take action to achieve it.
This year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the nation will witness an event that both symbolize great strides towards King’s dream as well as his worst fears for the country. While the inauguration of Barack Obama, the first black president for a second term, is a realization in part of King’s dream, it’s distorted into a nightmare by the United States’ wars around the globe, for which the President is responsible.
Dr. King wrote that he watched his dream run into a nightmare when he witnessed people perishing on lonely islands of poverty, while surrounded by vast prosperity. We see this today with millions of people out of work, many homeless and hungry, while corporations make record profits and wealth and income gaps soar.
He saw the dream turn to a nightmare watching the war in Vietnam escalate; ensuring that more lives were needlessly lost and resources wasted that could have been used to remedy suffering of those in need. We see this today as the nation faces huge budget deficits with calls to cut Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and other human services all the while politicians zealously protect war funding as if sacrosanct.