January 16, 2017

Of Dr. King, poverty and hypocrisy

As the nation marks (it's hard to say celebrates these days) the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., I started thinking about the many things Dr. King had to say about poverty, of which this is one example:

 “The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.”
and this is another:

"...it is obvious that if a man is to redeem his spiritual and moral ‘lag,’ he must go all out to bridge the social and economic gulf between the ‘haves’ and ‘have not’s’ of the world. Poverty is one of the most urgent items on the agenda of modern life.”
and this is another:

 “There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we have the resources to get rid of it.”
The observation of King's birthday provides the occasion for conspicuous displays of hypocrisy perhaps outmatched by only a few religious holidays.I'm sure quite a bit of that was on display in WV's capitol today even while that body prepares to ramp up the war on poor people that is the subject of this Jacobin article. 

I think it's going to be a long winter. Maybe even literally.