And I really wish that I didn't live in a world where the what if that hit me this morning could happen.
In late 1967 Martin Luther King was asked to give the Massey lectures in Canada and they were broadcast by the CBC. The four lectures plus his Christmas sermon have been published as a collection titled the The Trumpet of Conscience. Since I can't find a copy of Conscience and the Vietnam War on the net I'm transcribing it and hope to have it up later today or early tomorrow. And hope the folks who published the book will forgive me. But, I believe it's vitally important that we remember that his life and ministry didn't end with the "I Have a Dream" speech.
Now for the what if? A lot of people died in 1968. American servicemen in Vietnam, Vietnamese peasants. Guatemalan peasants accused of being rebels or labor organizers or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Plus a murdered minister, an assassinated politician, and an outspoken Cistercian monk who had an unfortunate run in with a wet floor and a badly wired fan while attending a conference in Thailand. IE. Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy and Thomas Merton. Ironically Merton, the critic of the war in Vietnam came home aboard a military plane carrying dead American servicemen. Somehow I don't think he would have minded. In fact he probably would have appreciated the irony.
But, this morning while I was working on Rev. King's speech and reflecting on what I've been reading the last few years I was struck by an inescapable fact. If these men had lived in any one of a dozen Latin American countries between the years of say, 1964 and 1990 and their names had been say Martine, Roberto or Tomas they probably would have been just as dead. Victims of the civil wars and/or right wing dictatorships supported by US money, materiel and CIA "advisers." In fact, it might not have mattered. Being Americans didn't save three nuns and a lay missionary returning to El Salvador in December of 1980.
What a world we've built. I have a great niece or nephew due next February. This is not the world I want that child to inherit. If the best I can do today is write then write I will. I'm open to suggestions for other, preferably non violent actions.