Tribute


Last year this day I wrote a little post called Have A Goddamn Dream, Damn It. Go check it out. It’s not much…not all wordy and long…but I stand by it. Watch the video. LISTEN to the video. It still rings true. As does this one I’m sharing today of Dr. King’s final speech…delivered the day before his assassination.

I hear a fearless man that knows he probably should be afraid. I see a fantastic, charismatic leader ready to do the dirty work of speaking the TRUTH loud and clear, of igniting the FIRE deep in the soul of the People, and the dangerous work of standing up to “The Man” (ie The Government Machine). I see a brave captain knowing he may have to go down for the ship before giving up. He was no dummy…he knew he had enemies that wanted to shut him the fuck up.

Now, I’m not a Christian and I get pretty sick to death with all the bible-thumping, Jesus-invoking rabble-rousing so many politicians have resorted to in the past few years. But for some reason, Dr. King’s Christian God references in his last public speech…as with all his other great speeches…don’t even bother me one bit. This man was The Real Deal. He believed and he knew…and his message was right in line with the true meaning of Christianity. He meant it for helping…for FREEDOM…not for personal gain and restriction, as all these asshat rightwing conservatives have been after lately.

I hear Dr. King speaking to us HERE and NOW. His message is LOUD and CLEAR

“Somewhere I read the greatness of America is the right to protest for right!”

He was a Great Man standing up to THE Man. We need another one like him…and we need him right the fuck NOW.

Don’t let Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and everything he stood for be forgotten. Don’t let the FIRE go out! Not EVER …and especially NOT NOW.

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“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth.”      ~ Martin Luther King, Jr, on 4 April, 1967

“In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of.” ~ Confucius

We’re a bit under the weather here at Casa de D today, so I really don’t have the mental energy to really serve you all right with a well thought-out, creatively worded article on just about anything, sorry. However, I do want to share an article with you that a friend turned me on to earlier today.

It’s been sixteen years since the article below was written and it still rings true, sadly. We still pour money into unnecessary and immoral wars, we still refuse to legislate adequate funds to programs to feed, clothe and provide health care to the poor of this country. We sweep them under the rug while spending billions on killing machines and killing strategies…creating more poor in those countries we destroy in the name of “Freedom“.

So, although we may have a national holiday today recognizing Dr Martin Luther King Jr., the media and government still refuse to recognize what the hell the man actually stood for, worked for…and died for. We as a people refuse to take any responsibility for digging past the propaganda to find the truth. We as a people hide behind rhetoric and lies…lies told to us and lies we tell ourselves…lies perpetuated by so-called “Christians” and the Tea Party and anyone else that spews hate by way of rationalizing the denial of aid to those in this country in need.

© 2011 D. Kessler

The Martin Luther King You Don’t See on TV
Media Beat (1/4/1995)
By Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon

It’s become a TV ritual: Every year in mid-January, around the time of Martin Luther King’s birthday, we get perfunctory network news reports about “the slain civil rights leader.”
The remarkable thing about this annual review of King’s life is that several years — his last years — are totally missing, as if flushed down a memory hole.

What TV viewers see is a closed loop of familiar file footage: King battling desegregation in Birmingham (1963); reciting his dream of racial harmony at the rally in Washington (1963); marching for voting rights in Selma, Alabama (1965); and finally, lying dead on the motel balcony in Memphis (1968).

An alert viewer might notice that the chronology jumps from 1965 to 1968. Yet King didn’t take a sabbatical near the end of his life. In fact, he was speaking and organizing as diligently as ever.

Almost all of those speeches were filmed or taped. But they’re not shown today on TV.
Why?

(…Read the full article here.)

martinLutherKingGandhi3Today is January 15, 2011. Love stating the obvious. Yep. That’s the date.

A lot of us don’t have to go to work on Monday, but few of us really appreciate why. Here’s why:

Today, 82 years ago, a little baby was born in Atlanta, Georgia. His mother Alberta named him after his father, Michael, a Baptist Minister, but when the family traveled to Europe in 1934, the Reverend decided to change both his name, and his son’s, to Martin after the German Protestant Reformer, Martin Luther.

That little boy grew up, along the way skipping both the ninth and twelfth grade and graduating high school at the age of 15 years old, then going on to college and earning is PhD in Philosophy at the amazing age of 25. He became a charismatic speaker and a leader of men and women on the road to freedom.

Then on the 28th of August in 1963, more than 2,000 buses, 21 special trains, 10 chartered airliners, and uncounted cars converged on Washington. Something like 200,000-300,000 people were part of The Great March on Washington and that little boy that grew up to be Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., made his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. People listened. They keep on listening. That’s what we hope, anyway.

By 1968, however, Dr. King had stirred the pot to the point where he wasn’t as popular as he once had been. He had continued to rally against the Vietnam war and to uplift and support the poor of this nation. He had made a great many enemies. He was a threat…to someone…to someone that had something done about it. Some ass-hole shot him dead.

He was only 39 years old…younger than I am now.

Today, on the birthday of that amazing man…his ACTUAL birthday, not the bank holiday…I give you his words. Take the time to read them. Take the time to realize we still have “Negroes” in this country that are not free…”Negroes” that are still crippled by the chains of discrimination.

In this time we live in, when two people that love each other cannot get married merely because of their gender, when a loving couple with a loving home can’t adopt children that need homes because they’re both the same sex and sleep together in the “biblical sense”, when men and women are beat and killed everyday because they are “gay”, and when young people…or ANYONE, for that matter…are harassed to the point where they see no other course than to take their own life…there is a mighty need to have a Dream. A Dream to End the Hate, To Find Equality and FreedomFOR ALL.

© 2011 D. Kessler

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by a sign stating: “For Whites Only.” We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”¹

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest — quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”²

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of
Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

(Delivered by Martin Luther King, Jr., on 28 August 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.)

I’m wallowing in the loss of an amazing musician today. No, not Gerry Rafferty. No “Stuck in the Middle With You” going ’round my head. Puh-leez.

No. We have “Gentlemen Take Polaroids” in our head…and “Quiet Life“…and “Life in Tokyo“…and “When Love Walks In“…and “Dali’s Car“.

We mourn the passing of a gifted bassist, and influential composer, a bright shining light…Mick Karn.  Bassist  and collaborator for Japan, David Sylvian & Peter Murphy. He lost his battle with cancer today. He was only 52 years old.

I wrote this message today at his official site:

“So very sad to hear about Mick today. Too young. So gifted. I feel guilty I haven’t dug out my vinyl in ages…guilty that it takes such a tragic moment to get me off my ass and dust off those beloved albums.
Love the Light, Mick…How fantastic the Other Side must be.
Blessings…”

 

© 2011 D. Kessler

I am a mortal.  I live I die. I will hopefully pass the torch to those that may  further my criteria for integrity in life. But it may not happen.  In fact, I’m not banking on it.  Even though I have the most pristine amazing most perfect specimen of the human consciousness as my offspring, I cannot bank on the age old tradition of her furthering my agenda…and that’s more than okay.  I want my daughter to take my input and turn it into her own thing. Such is the nature of evolution.

What I really mean to say is that I think that my daughter, free independent thinker that she is, will probably take what I say and do and incorporate it into her ethic and eventually my “legacy” (if that is what is it) will root and grow through her.  But I will never ever expect her to favor my agenda over hers.  To do so would burn my bridge from behind.  Nullify all that I am.

I’m a bit emotional right now…

I bring this up because I just found out that a woman that I have held in such Bettie Page immensely high esteem for most of my adult life has passed from this plane.  She is gone.  She was a Taurus, like me.  She was a dark haired rogue, like me.  She was born in the year 1923…the number that has followed me my whole life.  Ms. Bettie Mae Page, at age 85, in her mortal self, passed into the infinite.  I hope she is not too late to meet my brother JD on her way to Bliss.  Because, even though I never met her or knew her personally, she has she been part of my family…to me.

I am actually surprised at myself for being so emotionally disturbed by her passing.  I think it may be a little bit of the fact that some people seem to be above and beyond…don’t they always live?  They always will be?  They always will exist…won’t they?  But then…by brother didn’t, so I guess neither do they, these “others” that we feel will always be…

Bettie Page age 80 I am hoping that maybe my brother is still hanging out there somewhere in the Outer Zone…and maybe will get to meet and help Ms. Page along her way.  He was always a big fan.

That said…is there anything here I can glean for my “thanks” assignment?  Yes…maybe…well, no…I dunno…maybe.  For sure…I am thankful for Ms. Bettie Mae Page.  She became, by no intention of her own, a beacon, an icon, a immortal blessing to all GRRLs that thrive on individuality and independence and Do-For-Yourselfness.  I cried tonight.  I will forever feel her absence…

I will always miss you, my sweet Bettie.  You have helped me become who I am…and I thank you.  All us Grrls thank you.

© 2008 D. Kessler