The Tough Practicality of Dr. Martin Luther King

The heat, the humidity, the hate, the stupidity… It’s hard to think straight. To my Republican friends, I apologize. The Larouchites defy categorization, and Larouche likes to run in Democratic primaries. He did pretty well at times in the South.

Of course, in the South they have a saying. ‘Just ’cause the cat has kittens in the oven don’t make them biscuits.’ The Democratic Party doesn’t want anything to do with him, but they can’t legally keep him from claiming any label he wants.

Larouche accuses President Obama of failing to adopt the single-payer plan he is advocating–

There is no rational argument that can be made against LaRouche’s proposals. They provide health care and funding sources—whereas the Obama plan provides neither. What Obama’s does, instead, is to provide a British-Nazi-style apparatus to kill people, as part of a British imperial drive to utterly destroy the only threat to their world domination, the republic of the United States. And that must be stopped.

I don’t know how long Larouche has had any interest in health care, but he has a history of attacking politicians from both the left and the right flank. I don’t stay up at night worrying that the Redcoats are coming, but some do. The British, of course, have a single-payer system that insures all their citizens.

Insuring all our citizens is not an agreed goal. I talked to a lot of people at the Town Hall meetings, and often the same ones who were carrying signs about the evils of rationing explained to me that some Americans were just going to have to die of preventable diseases.

Reasons offered–
We don’t have enough doctors.
We don’t have enough money.
They made bad choices and chose not to buy insurance–tough luck.
Women have too many babies they can’t afford. (This from a man who said he was a pro-lifer)
The Constitution doesn’t mention health insurance.
They can go to the Emergency Room.
Most of them are illegal aliens anyway.

I am not an economist or a Constitutional scholar. All I can offer is my own witness to the waste, stupidity, heartlessness and mis-allocation of resources that I see every day in our current ‘system’. I think that some of the anger being turned against efforts to fix this mess comes from a sense of the insecurity most of us face with our job-linked insurance. We need reform and we need it now.

I recognized the Larouche disciples because I had encountered them in New Hampshire, in 1977, when I was part of the Clamshell Alliance organization against nuclear power. The Clam was an education in all that can go wrong and right with a political organization. I remember hearing rumors that provocateurs had infiltrated, and finding the thought laughable. We were quite capable of fouling things up on our own without outside help. But years later Freedom of Information Act records showed that there were indeed spies and provocateurs.

Which leads me to the tough practicality of Martin Luther King. Nonviolence and civility are morally powerful tools for persuading opponents and winning allies. They are also powerful safeguards against infiltrators who try to undermine your cause by provoking violence in word or deed.

When I went to the Town Hall, I did not name-call, my sign was pro-reform, not anti anyone. I talked to people and tried to use persuasion. I clapped for Rep. Langevin, to let him know he had supporters, but I didn’t boo anyone.

To my Republican friends, I would ask you to strongly disown the Nazi and ‘death panel’ rhetoric, and all who use them. If the Larouchites show up with their sign tell them that they do not represent your views. Stop accepting their magazines with the vile picture on the back cover. To my Democratic friends, I would remind you that non-violence and civility are the tools of the strong. There were a good number of people in West Warwick who were not from there. There will be no shortage of provocation. Counter lies with truth- the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.

6 thoughts on “The Tough Practicality of Dr. Martin Luther King

  1. So funny you should write this — I was just discussing with my friend Andre this morning about the LaRouche camp. He was saying how he had gone to the meeting in West Warwick and seen all the LaRouchites and thought it would be good to talk about them on the blog so people know that they make up a significant portion of the extremist people at the healthcare meetings. I don’t get what they are doing, Nancy, but I am glad you brought up your prior experience with the issue of infiltration. They are definitely confusing matters with their presence and probably driving some people to stay home and remain internet or TV voyeurs of these public debates.

  2. Ninjanurse, you are so right about taking the high road a la MLK or Ghandi. Unfortunately, as fervently as I’d like to be, I am unable to write off all the nastiest opponents of reform as being nutty Larouchites when I hear the same lies spewing forth from mainstream “moderate” Republicans like Chuck Grassley.

    Bless you for having more faith in humanity and ultimate justice than I do – I truly do envy you. *sigh*

  3. It’s always MLK.Do any of you remember James Farmer?I got to watch his efforts to open construction union jobs to Blacks in NYC.At that time(around 1962)Mohawk Indians were the only minorities allowed in the construction unions.Farmer’s main effort at non-violent civil disobedience took place about 4 blocks from my house.He eventually was succesful.He also served in the Nixon administration-I guess he was a Republican!
    Farmer is sadly unremembered today.

  4. One of the ways in which the media has sugar-coated and sanctified MLK and the Civil Rights Movement is to downplay Dr.King’s pragmatism and to ignore the thousands of committed people who made change possible.
    That is a post for another day, thanks for the suggestion. I have a shelf full of print books not on the net, so it will be good.
    Looking at Nixon, Republicans have changed so much that I could almost get nostalgic about some of his policies. Were there any labor organizers in the Bush administration?

  5. Nixon was mentally ill,which greatly diminished his potential.Hee was avery intelligent man,however.
    Only a mentally ill person would get involved in the Watergate nonsense when he was ahead by a landslide.

  6. History plays tricks on memory and the subtext of who, what and reality, rarely meet daylight except in arcane venues no one reads. The Larouche cultists are at once amusing and pathetic, but dangerous if they ever emerged with a substantive following. Mr. Nixon is a conundrum of history, inventing the EPA as I recall and initiating a war on cancer, with Mr. Kissenger and his brillance lurking in the shadows, while at the same time Mr. Nixon was destroying the Constitution. Mr. Nixon was a perplexing and troubled man who was very friendly with JFK and Elvis, but also had that bizarre mob of idiots and odd Cubans. James Farmer is now long meglected but was articulate, urbane, amazingly honest and candid, but mostly forgotten, just as the glorious Ralph Abernathy. Mr. Abnernathy was the soul of the movement King led, with none of the rather distressing foibles of Mr. King, be they his compulsive behavior and disturbing with women (discussed in Mr. Abernathy’s autobiography), and his propensity for plagerism, written about by numerous scholars, including the President of the Britannica. Not much of King’s writings were original apparently, especially his extensively plagerized dissertation. Thus his academic credentials were those of others, not his. But history has a way of making us at once enlightened and cringe, and I suspect the revelations of the current administration now energing will leave another bad taste in the electorate’s collective mouth. The world is a strange and interesting place.

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