The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government…I cannot be silent. — Martin Luther King Jr., “Beyond Vietnam”, April 4, 1967
To celebrate the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr. we must really analyze some facts that made people (even his own colleagues) uncomfortable. On April 4, 1967–exactly one year before he was killed–at the Riverside Church in New York City, he gave his seminal speech: “Beyond Vietnam–A Time to Break the Silence.”
Dr. King’s colleagues begged him not to conflate the “war at home” with the Empire’s wars abroad. He rejected that and said, (among other brilliant things in just this one speech):
So, decades later those “giant triplets” have grown to be massive, greedy destroyers of nations, communities, and families. Reading the speech that criticizes the very foundations of the Capitalist state one can easily see why he became a marked man. Dr. King stepped outside of the acceptable boundaries of polite protest and crossed the line to radicalism for truth, peace, and justice. Many parades honoring the legacy of Dr. King have been turned into jingoistic displays of militarism and support of The War Party which is appalling to say the least, and feeds those “giant triplets,” instead of opposing them as King’s life did.
Exactly 36 years after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, my own son Casey was led to his death by those evil “giant triplets” in the racist war for Empire in Iraq. I feel connected to the King family in sorrow, but also in our twin commitments to the sacred triplets of truth, peace, and justice. Truth, peace, and justice!
Cindy Sheehan is the 2014 Peace and Freedom Party candidate for Governor of California. In 2012 she was the party’s candidate for Vice President.