April 4 marks the anniversary of Martin Luther King's assassination in 1968. If he were alive today, he would not be pleased with the state of his country. With a prophetic voice, the great preacher would call the nation out on its two undeclared wars.
The first undeclared war Dr. King would point to is our war with Libya. A realistic pacifist, he would not tolerate the euphemisms used by our president to obfuscate the fact that we are in armed conflict with yet another nation across the world, yet again.
There has been little to no debate about this on either side of the aisle, and in the days since the airstrikes began, the national conversation has not deepened. We are pushing forward into a troubled country, supplying weapons and bombing, all without a serious public conversation about the strategy, reason and not to mention the morality of this course of action. If we are going to war in order to prevent genocide, King would call us to be honest and forthright about what we are doing.
The second undeclared war Dr. King would have the courage to name is the war against working people. Assassinated while supporting the sanitation workers in Memphis, King understood that unions allowed people to improve their lives by standing together.
The freedom to associate is not just a political principle but a religious one as well. The current assault on public sector unions would appall the man who died supporting one of them.
In states like Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Maine, New York, New
Jersey and Florida, the right of workers to organize has been or is about to be curtailed. By now the public has caught on that this is not about money and budgets but about preventing people from acting collectively. It is an assault on democracy.
Beginning with worship services over the April 1st weekend and continuing through early April, congregations and faith groups, civil and human rights activists, students and unions will come together in actions all around the country to remember Dr. King's vision of economic justice, under the banner, "We are one."
Dr. King would be at these actions. And with his gift for making connections between events here in the United States and events around the world, he would call us as a nation to be honest about our two undeclared wars.