Dreaming of a True Memorial Day
By Cynthia McKinney
05/30/07 "ICH" -- --
I took a visiting friend to view the
tomb of Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King. We went inside
Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. King once preached, and
listened to him give his own oration on how he would like to be
"If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don't
want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the
eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. Every now and then I
wonder what I want them to say. Tell them not to mention that I
have a Nobel Peace Prize, which isn't important. Tell them not
to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards,
that's not important. Tell them not to mention where I went to
school. I'd like somebody to mention that day, that Martin
Luther King, Jr. tried to give his life serving others. I'd like
for somebody to say that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr. tried
to love somebody. I want you to be able to say that day, that I
did try to feed the hungry. And I want you to be able to say
that day, that I did try, in my life, to clothe those who were
naked. I want you to say, on that day, that I did try, in my
life, to visit those who were in prison. I want you to say that
I tried to love and serve humanity.
"Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was
a drum major for justice; say that I was a drum major for
righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not
matter. I won't have any money to leave behind. I won't have the
fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just
want to leave a committed life behind."
And for a moment I reflected on how Dr. King had been ridiculed
in the "mainstream" press—all complicit in the U.S. Government's
unethical and sometimes illegal program of COINTELPRO.
I remembered how his son, Martin III, had run for office in
Atlanta and again was ridiculed by the local Atlanta newspaper.
I thought briefly of how that same local newspaper often through
its black female editor derided the King Family, including
Martin's widow Coretta, as if COINTELPRO never ended and
murdering one of America's greatest sons was not enough.
Then my brain switched to thoughts of my Congressional Panel
entitled "Murder of MLK" where TV's popular Judge Joe Brown
appeared and announced unequivocally that the rifle known to all
Americans as the murder weapon is, indeed, not the murder
weapon. And Dr. William Pepper, longtime King Family friend and
lawyer at the famous 1999 Memphis trial in which the jury found
that the government was part of a conspiracy to assassinate Dr.
King. In fact, in that trial, testimony revealed that a very
sophisticated operation to kill Dr. King was hatched in the
bowels of the Pentagon and brought together the Mob, local
Memphis police, and US military intelligence to accomplish the
objective. In fact, Dr. King's family had been under
surveillance by our Government since the 1920s!
In short, everything you think you know about Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr.'s murder is a lie. What they teach our children in the
schools about the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a
lie. How many other lies has our Government told us and that are
substantiated and corroborated by the "mainstream" corporate
Why does our Government lie to us?
Today is a day of deep reflection because it is Memorial Day.
I'm sad today because I believe the most fundamental values of
our country have been purposefully undermined before our very
I'm sad because the people seem so powerless against the lies
our Government tells us, when the Government is not supposed to
be them, it's supposed to be us!
And finally, I'm sad because I don't want Dr. King to have died
in vain, yet, with every passing day I fear that might be the
We, the American people, have been lied to.
Our young men and women are dying in a far-off land; those of us
who dissent are spied upon by an Administration that violates
the Constitution. Our economy has been wrecked by massive theft
occurring in the guise of war and disaster profiteering. Our tax
money has been used to fly people to places around the world so
they can be tortured—whether they're guilty of anything or not.
And innocent people all over the planet die as a result of
policies carried out in our name that include subversion,
sabotage, terrorism, torture, death squads, and drug
trafficking. Innocent Afghanis die today so that the U.S. can
control both the heroin and the oil trades.
Dr. King was murdered because certain people in power felt that
he threatened the American way of life. Today, it's people in
Afghanistan, Colombia, Haiti, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Palestine,
Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, and Democratic Republic of
Congo who die for this thing called the American way of life.
Yesterday, it was Cuba, Vietnam, Guatemala, El Salvador,
Dominican Republic, Chile, Argentina, Libya, Grenada, Nicaragua,
Indonesia, and East Timor.
What exactly is that American way of life?
Well, Agence France Presse just ran a story announcing that two
separate studies found that the U.S. has the most expensive
health care system in the world, yet the worst, most notable for
its lack of universal coverage.
According to the Pentagon, we have 16,000 single moms serving in
Iraq, an unprecedented number.
The 2000 Presidential Election result was based on the illegal
denial of the right to vote of duly registered voters by way of
a purposefully corrupted "convicted felons list" that included
people guilty of nothing but being black, Democrat, and
registered to vote in Florida.
The 2004 Presidential election results in Ohio, according to
Professor Bob Fitrakis of Ohio, were tallied on machines that
housed Republican Party-oriented websites and that used software
written by Republican Party loyalists.
A recent study found that one-third of adults in Washington,
DC—our nation's capital city—are functionally illiterate, not
being able to fill out job applications, read maps, or
understand bus schedules.
The Innocence Project just announced its 200th innocent released
from a prison system that now occupies the number one slot in
the world for number of people incarcerated.
The University of Michigan just released a study confirming what
we already knew: that hazardous waste facilities predominate in
poor, minority neighborhoods. Hull House of Loyola University
released a study finding that it would take 200 years for black
Chicagoans to catch up to the quality of life experienced by
According to United for a Fair Economy it will take 1,664 years
to close the home ownership gap between blacks and whites.
Our country now claims the top slot as the debt capital of the
And with the amount of money that we've already spent on the
war, according to the National Priorities Project, Americans
could have had instead:
1.8 million new teachers;
Over 20 million college scholarships;
Health insurance for over 60 million children;
Or nearly 4 million new housing units.
Is this the American way of life that our children are dying for
and the government lies to us for?
Or is it the record profits of Exxon, Microsoft, Apple (and I
love my macs), and others while the share of national income
going to wages and salaries is at a record low?
We should expect more from our elected leadership.
The Democrats didn't fight for their own true election results
in 2000 or in 2004, so why should we expect them to impeach an
illegitimate Administration that has violated the U.S.
Constitution and international law, lied to the American people,
and sent our young men and women into harm's way?
In fact, the Democrats have just now made themselves complicit
in impeachable crimes of the Bush Administration. On March 17,
my birthday, at the antiwar protest at the Pentagon, I declared
that by voting to fund George Bush's wars, the Democrats had
become explicitly complicit in war crimes, torture, crimes
against humanity, and crimes against peace.
The American people voted for peace in last November's election.
And they voted for justice. We didn't get peace and we don't
What about a livable wage for America's workers?
What about the right of return for Katrina survivors?
What about repealing the Patriot Act, the Secret Evidence Act,
and the Military Tribunals Act?
Why is impeachment "off the table"?
How can the Pentagon "lose" 2.3 trillion dollars!
Why can't we get that money back for jobs, health care,
education, and our veterans?
One year to the day before he was murdered Dr. King, under
tremendous pressure from other blacks and "civil rights leaders"
to tone down his antiwar rhetoric, responded thusly:
"For those who say to me, 'stick to civil rights,' I have
another answer. And that is, that I've fought too long and too
hard now, against segregated public accommodations to end up
segregating my moral concerns. I'm not gonna do that. But others
can do what they want to do. That's their business. If other
civil rights leaders, for various reasons, refuse or can't take
a stand or have to go along with the Administration, that's
their business. But I must say tonight, that I know that justice
is indivisible: injustice anywhere is a threat to justice
I'm deeply disappointed on this Memorial Day 2007 in what the
current leadership of both political parties has allowed our
country to become.
Many of you know I'm a Star Trek Trekkie. And in a powerful
exchange between Spock and Bones, the following is said:
SPOCK: "Evil does seek to maintain power by suppressing the
BONES: "Or by misleading the innocent."
I believe the innocent people of our country have been purposely
misled while the truth has been suppressed. I will continue to
work to expose the truth—as I have done in the past. And I
certainly hope that by next year's Memorial Day, the United
States will have once again become the beacon of peace and
justice and truth that we know it can be. And that Dr. King's
sacrifice and that of his family will not have been in vain.
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