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Wed Dec 21, 2016, 10:40 AM

Selma

“In those days, I identified with the ideas of Malcolm X, his philosophy of ‘by any means necessary,’ rather than what I misinterpreted as the passivity of Dr. Martin Luther King.”
-- Rubin “Hurricane” Carter; Eye of the Hurricane; Lawrence Hill Books; 2011; page 62


One of the most interesting periods of the 1960s is often overlooked: for a brief period in 1964 to early ‘65, Malcolm and Martin began taking steps towards presenting a united front to obtain human rights for the twenty million black Americans. In large part, this was a result of Malcolm’s attempt to bring Uncle Sam’s abuses in front of the United Nations. In his trips abroad during this time, foreign leaders recommended to Malcolm that he seek to create a united front with Dr. King.

Although it is generally ignored in most biographies of the two men, there were a series of communications between the two, through a third party -- an attorney from Chicago. Also, as is better known, Malcolm traveled to Selma while King was in jail. Members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee had invited him to address their group on February 4. That day, Malcolm would also speak with Andrew Young, James Bevel, and Coretta Scott King.

Dr. King had called Rubin before the Selma campaign, and asked him to join the effort. At that time, Rubin did not subscribe to King’s non-violent methods. Indeed, a Saturday Evening Post reporter had quoted one of Rubin’s friends, out of context, regarding the black community’s right to fight back against police violence. Thus, Rubin told Martin that it would be “suicidal” for him to participate in Selma.

Two weeks after he gave Coretta a message for her husband, Malcolm was killed. Within a few years, Martin Luther King was murdered. And Rubin was serving a triple-life sentence for a vicious crime that he had not committed. In the early 1970s, Rubin and I became friends; over the next four decades, among many other things, we would discuss the meanings of Malcolm and Martin.

It’s easy, today, to pay tribute to Dr. King on Martin Luther King Day. And many of us old folks take time to remember his death every April 4th. It is not uncommon to wish that King were alive today, to serve as a leader in the on-going struggle for human rights. (I even find myself wishing Malcolm were here to debate Bill O’Reilly-types.)

Yesterday, I had a phone call from the editor of a regional newspaper. She reads my blog, and called to ask if she could use my most recent essay in the upcoming edition? Of course. We had a pleasant conversation, in which she said that we need a Gandhi/ King-like figure today. I suggested that what is really required is that we bring forth that potential within ourselves.

She noted that doing so was very difficult, especially in such an acrimonious time. I agreed, for all worth-while things are as difficult as they are important. More, not doing so will result in a far worse scenario. She said that it is hard for her to not feel anger towards many people, and to fear them. I agree 100%. I’m human. People bug me, too. And it is a very angry time in America. Yet, if we feed into that anger, the direction our nation is going in will be -- at very least -- just as difficult as if we attempt to put the teachings and examples of Gandhi and King to work in our daily lives.

On that last blog essay, I noted that Thoreau wrote that people to “see” what they expect, and want, to see. In our society, people see reasons to fear the future, especially since Trump won the general election. And, being angry, they see others to blame. No single group has a monopoly on blaming others, of course, yet we find its corrosive effect within those groups that are most opposed to Trump’s electoral victory.,

If one reads various internet sites (including, but not limited to the Democratic Underground), they find individuals and groups blaming numerous others: the Sanders campaign; the Clinton campaign; the DNC; James Comey; cable news; the Russians; millennials; Doris Day; and on and on. There is no shortage of self-righteous outrage and hatred Indeed, only two things are missing -- an awareness of what role each of us played as individuals, and of what positive changes we might make to counter the unwholesome impact of the Trump presidency.

Yet only honest self-examination can result in each of us reaching a point where we can actually create positive change. It’s easy, for example, to remember every insult aimed at ourselves during the primary and general election campaigns. It’s a bit more difficult to take responsibility for the abrasive digs we got in on others who though and acted differently than we did. However, we can’t change others -- we can only change ourselves.

Our behaviors do influence others. If we attack others -- verbally in person, or in writing on the internet -- because they think and act differently than we do, as a result of holding different values based upon different life-experiences, it is unlikely to sway them in a positive way. Few people enjoy being insulted or demeaned for their beliefs …..and those that do are not pictures of mental health.

Likewise, those who cling to self-righteousness, and declare that they will never work with former allies who think differently are not displaying politically healthy or emotionally mature attitudes. It’s really as simple as that. That attitude, and the resulting behaviors, are the direct opposite of the example that Dr. King set for us.

To paraphrase King, at this point in time, although it may not be comfortable or easy, each of us may make a choice of how we will respond to current events. That we are at a crisis point in our nation’s history -- and in world history -- is all too obvious. It is up to each of us to respond by bringing forth our best potentials.

Peace,
H2O Man

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 22 replies Author Time Post
Reply Selma (Original post)
H2O Man Dec 2016 OP
ms liberty Dec 2016 #1
H2O Man Dec 2016 #7
lunatica Dec 2016 #2
H2O Man Dec 2016 #8
Lonestarblue Dec 2016 #3
H2O Man Dec 2016 #9
demmiblue Dec 2016 #4
H2O Man Dec 2016 #10
Hekate Dec 2016 #5
H2O Man Dec 2016 #11
Solly Mack Dec 2016 #6
H2O Man Dec 2016 #12
spanone Dec 2016 #13
H2O Man Dec 2016 #14
druidity33 Dec 2016 #15
H2O Man Dec 2016 #18
7wo7rees Dec 2016 #16
H2O Man Dec 2016 #21
malaise Dec 2016 #17
H2O Man Dec 2016 #22
CanSocDem Dec 2016 #19
Bucky Dec 2016 #20

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 01:04 PM

1. On point as usual, H20Man

"Dream of a peaceable kingdom, dream of a world without fear/The ones we wish would listen are never going to hear" (Rush, "Peaceable Kingdom"
I don't think the ones here at DU who should listen are going to hear.
But LOL at the Doris Day reference! So glad you're back!

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Response to ms liberty (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 03:11 PM

7. Thank you.

I agree. There is a significant number who can't hear this message right now.

I considered listing Matt Busby, but figured that wound was too fresh.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 01:33 PM

2. But first we have stages of grief to go through

I mean that in the most positive way. We can't ignore the process nor should we get stuck in the angry stage. It's too easy and can become addictive.

I want to find that part of myself that isn't a perpetual emotionally reactive state of being. Acceptance of reality as it is must be our first goal.

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Response to lunatica (Reply #2)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 03:14 PM

8. Very important point.

People get the same "good feeling" from insulting others on the internet, as with other addictions and unconscious behaviors.

I have opportunity to look out my windows on these cold days, and watch the birds and deer sharing a meal out on my lawn. That helps ground me.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 01:38 PM

3. Thanks for the Inspiration

I've been reading the Rev. William Barber's book, The Third Reconstruction, and your post reminds me of one of my first observations from the book: those who fought for civil rights endured many setbacks along the way and still they persevered, often in the face of life-threatening situations. We can do no less. I'm becoming really tired of the finger pointing, the incessant analysis of what went wrong, and the general carping about the loss that appears on many progressive blogs. I'm ready to move on--not to forget and pretend that this president is normal or that the Republican Party will do good things, since we know they won't--but to take actions that may be small steps now but build to something bigger. We have a 2018 election to work for, and we need to get about it--making sure voters are registered, fighting unlawful voter repression in court and the media, crafting our message of what we want for America (economically speaking, California not Kansas), volunteering for our local Democratic candidates and the party, and so on. We won't win by replaying the past election.

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Response to Lonestarblue (Reply #3)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 05:52 PM

9. Thank you.

Some of the most important struggles that I've been involved in took between twenty and thirty years, before we achieved the desired, positive results. Our culture has a curious concept of time -- at least in my opinion.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 01:44 PM

4. This should be pinned. K&R!

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Response to demmiblue (Reply #4)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 05:53 PM

10. Thanks!

Much appreciated.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 01:56 PM

5. Thanks so much for your thoughtfulness. It's so good to have you back around here.

happy holidays and holy-days, and a happy new year

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Response to Hekate (Reply #5)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 09:29 PM

11. Thanks, Hekate!

Happy Holidays to you, too.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 01:57 PM

6. K&R

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Response to Solly Mack (Reply #6)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 09:30 PM

12. Thank you.

Do you think 2017 will be better than 2016?

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 09:31 PM

13. K&R...

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Response to spanone (Reply #13)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 10:01 PM

14. Thank you.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 10:28 PM

15. I've missed your words, glad you're back.

It's really good to read an insightful post on our current situation that is both positive and inspiring. Thank you for reminding us of Dr. King and Malcolm... keep on musing! K&R

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Response to druidity33 (Reply #15)

Thu Dec 22, 2016, 09:01 AM

18. Thanks.

Much appreciated.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2016, 04:24 AM

16. Thank you. You have been sorely missed.

You truly are an inspiration and a guiding light.

A true elder to whom we all should listen.

Good tidings to you and your family during this season and to all of DU as well.

Peace......

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Response to 7wo7rees (Reply #16)

Thu Dec 22, 2016, 10:12 AM

21. Thanks!

Happy holidays to you & yours!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2016, 04:25 AM

17. K & R

Well said

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Response to malaise (Reply #17)

Thu Dec 22, 2016, 10:12 AM

22. Thanks, Buddy!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2016, 09:32 AM

19. I remember the time...

 


...when 'passion' ruled my political analysis.

Thanks for remembering the teaching moment in history when we had to confront what direction 'the revolution' would follow. Rather than actually discussing the similarities between the messages of MLK and Malcolm and creating a strong and united voice, the ruling class decided that we didn't really need that discussion and removed the participants.

So we had those discussions anyway and through the dialogue became enlightened. I said recently, that I was disappointed that The Beatles didn't come down on the side of anarchy. Time and dialogue cleared up a lot of my confusion and, just like you say, self-reflection was the key.
The Trump presidency is another teaching moment in history, not only for those wallowing in despair but for those of us who saw it coming and were hardly surprised. We've had our disappointments since the 60's, but again like you say:

"Yet, if we feed into that anger, the direction our nation is going in will be -- at very least -- just as difficult as if we attempt to put the teachings and examples of Gandhi and King to work in our daily lives."

Well said. K&R

.


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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2016, 09:38 AM

20. I agree, the solution lies in finding unity, not in spewing anger

But I can never forgive Doris Day

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