|From Chaos to Community: Building our Democracy
by Jamala Rogers
of poverty.” To know that a CEO makes 270 times more than the average
worker would sicken the King.
On police brutality and the criminal courts, Dr. King said that “law and order
exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose,
they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social
progress.” He would be critical of any police department that persists in racial
profiling and a prosecutor’s office which has difficulty figuring out who are
the real criminals.
On war and US imperialism, Dr.King was on point when he predicted that “a
nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense
than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
Dr. King reminded us that “of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care
is the most shocking and inhumane.” He would be appalled to see that the
richest country in the world had 45 million uninsured citizens despite the efforts
of the first Black president to provide health care for all.
Dr. King has told us that the privileges of white people in an inherently racist
society must be scrutinized in the quest for racial equity. White people
marching arm-in-arm with blacks shouting “Black Lives Matter” is a picnic
compared to what it takes to deconstruct an economic system built on racial
and sexual exploitation.
Racism, poverty and war are expensive on so many levels. Add ignorance to
the equation and we have a tough wall to penetrate. Justice-seeking people
must learn lessons from the past and declare a renewed commitment to the
struggle ahead to save humanity and the planet. That’s what it really means to
fully embrace Dr. King’s legacy and protect the gains of the Civil Rights
Movements. Communities must be built upon principles of trust and equity.
Trust and believe Dr. King when he said full civil and human rights will not
come at “bargain rate."
From now until the end of Black History Month, the air will be filled with quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the achievements of African
Americans. If half of us were truly carrying out the principles of Dr. King, the world wouldn’t be such a ball of confusion. And this nation wouldn’t be
torn asunder with racial and economic strife.
The brilliance and complexity of Dr. King’s work is his enduring analysis of this country’s three evils: racism, war and poverty. Over five decades since
his death, these three evils are alive and well and continually stoked by the likes of trump. Dreaming won’t rid us of them either.
The issue that is still biting us in the butt that Dr. King’s movement was so focused on is voting rights. States like Georgia, Texas and Wisconsin are
finding ways to exclude citizens from this important civil right instead of including them into our democracy. Based on the critical presidential election
this year, it’s not an accident that 234,000 voters may be purged before the November election.
The question of voters moving is not a new one. The real question is what method is in place to make it easy to change addresses so that tens of
thousands don’t accumulate, then at the eleventh hour end up in the trash bin. I know that fair-minded Wisconsinites will find a just way to deal with
this situation in a timely way.
Meanwhile, the clouds of war are billowing. Billions of tax dollars are spent each year in military aggression, both home and abroad. One in six
Americans now lives below the poverty line. Despite the skewed economic projections by the current president, the unemployment rate for Black
people has been doubled that of whites since 1972. Poverty and economic injustice are twins that still dominate this country’s landscape. The big tax
cut by trump has no way eased the deep suffering of poor and working people.
The growing economic gap between the rich and poor is becoming an acceptable fact. Dr. King would have found it unconscionable believing “the
curse of poverty has no justification in our age” and that the “the time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition