MLK, 40 years ago and today.

From: Mike Cole (
Date: Mon Jan 19 2004 - 20:20:06 PST

Thank you for your rememeberances of Martin Luther King, David. He has
been on my mind too.

For lots of reasons, the thoughts generated by this rememberance of his
birthday are different for me and for you.

Two things dominated my thoughts.

One was the memory of driving from New York to California in the summer
of 1963 on our way home from Moscow. Having been disconnected from the
US for so long, we did not know about the march on Washington when we
arrived in New York and learned about it from the little radio stations
as we headed west, regretting our ignorance, upset not to be with it enough
to know that we should be in Washington, not Iowa. (Strange that Iowa is in
our faces today).

We, too had a dream. We, like the rest of the world, bore witness to the
multiple nightmares that followed.

For whatever reason, the thoughts dominating my thinking this weekend were of
a gloomier caste. Perhaps age, perhaps too many disappointments (highly
correlated, perhaps). What I could not get out of my mind was the incresing
evidence that US schools are as segregated today as they were in the
1960's and headed in the wrong direction. Or the rip off of the poor people
of my state who have no health care and too little work while their sons
and daughters are sent abroad to be killed even as they kill, with God
on their side.... just as god is on the side of those exploited people who
kill them. While they vote for those who craft those policies.

In the 1960's, young men flew over my head while I taught at Irvine, on their
way to save Vietnam for democracy. Today, their children sail out of
San Diego harbor on an analgous mission.

Tomorrow it will all be forgotten in the flurry of confusion engendered by
the events in Iowa. Sure is a flat state for a Californian to drive through,
even 40 years later. But, then, California is kinda flat compared to the
land east of Kandahar, where God is on everyone's side.

And tomrrow I get to spend time with my students and a bunch of kids,
all of whom have dreams of their own, and lives far more difficult than
my own, with whom I am privileged to play in a way that others interpret
as promoting development, for which I am especially grateful. It beats
working for a living.

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