Two nights ago, I was watching a special on MSNBC called “Obama’s America” where they discussed race and politics during this past MLK day. While they discuss President Obama and how race relations may change in the future, both Chris Matthews and Tom Joyner ignored discussing one important issue that has caused that has racial violence many times in the time in the past, poverty.
In 1967, Martin Luther King began to speak out against the war in Vietnam, while it was still popular among the majority of the American People. King argued that the war was a direct cause of poverty in the country.
King famously stated that the President Johnson’s Great Society was “shot down in the fields of Vietnam”.
King stated in a famous speech that it costs “five hundred thousand dollars, to kill each enemy soldier, while the United States government was only spending $53 to rehabilitate a person suffering from poverty. King justly called the war in Vietnam an “enemy of the poor”.
Many of the problems associated with the Great Recession are directly tied to the current wars we have in both Iraq and Afghanistan. According to an article by the New York Times back in November, the United States is currently spending roughly one million dollars per soldier in either campaign.
With the one million dollars per soldier, the federal government can create twenty jobs with an annual wage of fifty thousand dollars. The United would finally have the funds to finally rebuild the roads, bridges, and infrastructure, which have been deteriorating for over forty years.
The money spent on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (including the bailout money given to Wall Street) the United States may be able to finally break away from this economic slowdown.
If the recession is allowed to continue, we are sure to see racism flare up as different ethnic groups again compete for limited resources.
It is time for American to protest the wars in the Middle East. The cost in both blood and treasure will haunt us for many years to come.
Martin Luther had this plan, or more of a dream, of organizing another march on the capital to protest both the war and poverty within the country. He planned to assemble many people of different races to both protest and to stay in camps, as a way to force the federal government to change.
Instead of discussing why a congressman yelled “you lie” in the middle of a State of Union speech; maybe it is time for us to carry out that dream in honor of him. Instead of discussing a single quote by a senator, or what a talk-host said about race; maybe it is time to protest the issues Martin Luther King hoped we would’ve solved forty years ago.