“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.)

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After the bus pulls away, away from the girl that freaks me out for no reason, I start to calm down. I’m on the way to Capitol Hill, on my way home. I can deal with this. I plug in my ipod and veg out, tune out, watch the various scenes around me…detached. It’s like watching some movie with the soundtrack off. Or rather, with the soundtrack of my choosing…Neurosis, Sepultura, Tool. Very different than most of the persons in the visual backdrop in front of my eyes. That’s what makes it tolerable…the paradox of society versus sound…

At the first stop, one of the business-type robots gets on, early thirties, hair haphazardly pinned up in back with some sort of plastic clip, her feet in tennis shoes, bright white like they just came out of the box sometime this week. Her charcoal suit is ill fit, shoulders a bit too wide, and she doesn’t fill out the bust properly. Probably got the thing at some discount second-life store like Ross or The Rack and doesn’t even realize she should get it altered to fit; she’s not going up the ladder too quick like that. She’s bogged down with too much shit: an over-stuffed handbag, a laptop case and an armload of something that looks like a portfolio stuffed with miscellaneous files being brought home to slave over until midnight. Well, maybe she doesn’t realize that it’s not just how hard you work or how good you are at your work…she still needs to look the part for that promotion. Stupid robots. Exactly why I don’t want anything to do with that shit.

Some kids rudely push past her going the other way in the aisle trying to get off at the same stop. Loudly bickering amongst themselves about something, I can even hear them a bit over my music. They don’t care that as they bump past her, they knock the portfolio out of her arm and it falls to the floor, scattering papers everywhere. She squats down to gather them up and the bus lurches forward at the same time, knocking her on her ass. I catch a glimpse of thigh where it meets a more private area and notice that she’s wearing bright blue underwear. Lovely. One of the guy robots in the seat next to where she sits struggling to get up bends over to help her, and also picks up some papers just out of her reach. He scoots over to the seat by the window so she can sit down next to him and I notice he’s introducing himself, hand extended. I wonder if he saw the blue panties too and chuckle to myself. Yep. Just like a stupid movie.

Just the other side of I-5, the bus stops again to let off more people…and let more on. Things are getting pretty tight and I’m glad that I got on at the stop that I did. Seats are at a premium now and most of the newbies are having to stand, gripping the rails above their heads with whitening knuckles. This driver isn’t the smoothest ride…I wonder how long he’s been doing this job.

A little old lady is wanting to get on the bus, but with her walker she wants the bus driver to lower the handicap lift. Its piercing annoyingly high-pitched beeping noise invades my audio world, then a pause as the old crone wheels her metal walker on in front of her and then up the contraption goes, bringing her with and resuming that gawd-awful sound. Once on the bus, she looks at the passengers sitting at the front on the seats facing inward, waiting for one of them to offer her a seat. A lady with a toddler picks up her snot-nosed kid and plops her in her lap so the old lady can sit, her walker in front of her, blocking the aisle. She looks like she’ ninety, hair covered with one of those plastic rain caps…even though there’s not been a drop of rain today despite the clouds. The little girl in her mother’s lap starts to cry…I can’t quite hear her, thank god, but I can see her face all screwed up and she’s squirming violently trying to get down off her mother’s lap. The passengers across from her are looking very uncomfortable, annoyed even, as they look away, or glare at the child and/or the mother. Mommy is obviously exhausted and ineffectual at curtailing this obnoxious behavior…it’s all she can do to keep the child in her lap. I feel sorry for the kid rather than the other passengers. I mean, how must she feel cooped up on this contraption with lots of strangers around her, giving her the evil eye, and some weird old lady that probably smells of Bengay or worse sitting so close to you she’s actually touching you? Ick. I’d scream and cry, too.

Somebody nudges me in the shoulder. I ignore them. Leave me alone. I don’t know you. They nudge me again, harder this time, so I turn my head to look at the person responsible for interrupting my made-for-Metro movie. Some shaggy guy…great, looks like a bum… is saying something to me, his broken teeth and chapped lips moving in silence…or rather I just can’t hear what he’s saying over my private soundtrack blaring through my earbuds. I shake my head at him and look away again, out the window at the first-story retail storefronts going by: an Italian restaurant that’s been there forever, a nightclub or two, an overpriced “antique” store, a coffee house on the corner, and an Indian store with a window filled with textiles, beads, spiritual books, statues of Ganeshas and Buddahs, and world music CDs. Dude, just leave me alone, I think. I don’t have any spare change for you, don’t want to hear your crazy talk and I definitely don’t want to catch your lice or scabies or whatever virus your saliva is carrying.

Apparently he really wants to talk to me because he’s not letting up, pushing me harder this time. I pull out one of my earbud and look at him. “What?” I ask him, most annoyed to be bothered.

“You will help her.” He says. “You don’t want to, but she needs your help, so you will. It’s your true self.”

What the fuck is he talking about? I just glare at him, roll my eyes and turn away, replacing my earbud. But he grabs my wrist and yanks it back before I can fade off into my own private Idaho again.

“No!” He insists urgently. “You will help her! She bothers you, makes you uncomfortable…but you will keep seeing her until you resign yourself to your task.” His breath smells like a dead wet dog that’s been in the alley under a trash dumpster for three days. It makes me want to barf…but what he’s saying suddenly totally is freaking me out. Who is he talking about? It can’t be…I mean…what does he know about it? How can he? I haven’t even barely admitted it to myself yet…keep telling myself it’s coincidence, I’m imagining it, there’s no reason I should be freaking out on it…

Who? What are you talking about, old man? You’re a freak…” homeless-bums-tramps2 crop

He’s shaking his head, eyes bleary yet filled with some weird sort of compassion. He’s really weirding me out now. “You know.” He pauses. What, for effect? “You know. She will help you too.”

That’s it. I can’t take it. This is too much, too weird. I jump up, pushing him  away from me as I pull the next-stop cable. Shoving past where Miss Blue Panties is sitting, talking to Mr. Nice Stranger, I accidently bump into her portfolio and the papers scatter again, this time under her seat and the one in front of her. Fuck it. I gotta get off this bus! I bolt as soon as the doors are open, stiffing the driver for the bus fare. He shouts after me but I’m long gone, running halfway down the block before I realize it.

© 2008 D. Kessler