Letter: Martin Luther King Jr. Day passes without his wisdom


We’ve done it again: celebrated, sanitized and censored Martin Luther King Jr. by omitting his crucial wisdom. As King said, “In the end, we will not so much remember the words of our enemies as the silence of our friends — silence is betrayal.”

While Seattle and Tacoma marched for justice and Bellingham honored black women. While blacks and others suffer poverty, prejudice and prison, we, like right-wing Bellevue, plant trees (and platitudes).

That’s fine, but why on Dr. King’s birthday? What are we teaching our children? Can’t we do better?

I don’t allow myself to have heroes. And I regard martyrdom as facilitating further censorship. But I value wise advice. Like our founders, Dr. King was a radical. And he was a Christian. Christ was also a radical as I would expect Christians to be.

The test! Matthew 25 — “Anything you do for the least of my people you do for me … anything you fail to do for the least of my people you fail to do for me.”

Dr. King criticized both communism and capitalism. I contend that capitalism is not free enterprise but monopoly enterprise and dangerous to freedom and democracy. It is anti-social and unethical (golden rule).

I suggest going online. Search Dr. King’s speech from Aug. 16, 1967: “Where Do We Go From Here” (preferable to the later book). Read or listen about Operation Breadbasket — black free enterprise. And especially the last 16 minutes about social-economic justice and racism, poverty and militarism.

Yes! Dr. King makes some people uncomfortable. He’s “controversial.” But consider: all injustice is controversial, or else it wouldn’t exist. If we all agreed, we’d stop it. Or have never started it.


Port Townsend


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Tom Camfield

Nicely and concisely said. Martin Luther King was not merely a preacher, he was a "statesman" without holding political office. He also was Black in a still-racist society, which I'm sure led to his assassination. That sort of thing happens to intelligent and caring people such as MLK, liberal president John F. Kennedy, and JFK's attorney-general brother Robert. King's words will ring down through history, continuing to inspire. They also should be passed along via the classroom.

Friday, February 8