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Franklin bifocals Friday, October 14, 2016

Statue of Colonial Leader William Penn    Colonial Leader William Penn
[1644 - William Penn, reformer, Pennsylvania founder, born in London]

Dwight David Eisenhower   President Dwight Eisenhower    General Dwight Eisenhower with paratroopers 1944
[1890 - Dwight David Eisenhower, 5-star general: Supreme Commander Allied Forces World War II; 34th U.S. President, born in Denison, Texas]

Actress Lillian Gish    Actress Lillian Gish    Actress Lillian Gish    Lillian Gish
[1893 - Lillian Gish (de Guiche), actress, born in Springfield, Ohio]

e e cummings    Poet & Playwright e e cummings
[1894 - e e cummings (Edward Estlin Cummings), poet, playwright, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts]

John Wooden as a player   John Wooden as a player   John Wooden as coach   Hall of Fame Coach John Wooden  Hall of Famer John Wooden
[1910 - John Robert Wooden, Basketball Hall of Famer both as a player and coach, born in Hall, Indiana]

Actor Robert Webber    Actor Robert Webber    Actor Robert Webber
[1924 - Robert L. Webber, actor, born in Santa Ana, California]

Chuck Yeager with the X-1 Plane
[1947 - Captain Chuck Yeager, USAF, breaks the sound barrier in X-1]

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, with the prize
[1964 - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is awarded
the Nobel Peace Prize]

Class Warfare?

The phrase "class warfare" has begun to appear more frequently in our discourse. This should come as no surprise. The growing gap between the haves and have-nots in our society has been brilliantly illuminated by the 2008 fiscal and financial crisis, and the subsequent bailout of the wealthy and privileged. While you and I faced foreclosure, Wall Street wallowed in record profits and paid obscene bonuses to the perpetrators of the crisis. A number of studies taken of the wealth gap between the richest one percent of Americans and the rest of us shows clearly that it has continued to grow and has now reached what is likely an all-time high.

Today, on the anniversary of the awarding of a Nobel peace prize to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we might consider how he would view these developments. Given that the Prize was awarded to Dr. King for his championing of the cause of nonviolent solutions to social inequality, any phrase that ended with the term 'warfare' would likely have made him frown. On the other hand, in his famous "I have a dream" speech he made a most eloquent case for equality of economic opportunity for all races. Following the election of President Obama we heard a lot of nonsense about a post-racial society. As long as the unemployment rate in the black inner-city ghetto continues at twice that to be found elsewhere, we obviously have a long way to go. One supposes that Dr. King would see in the widening disparity between a privileged economic elite, and the rest of us, a very real threat to peace. While counseling nonviolence, he would likely be fighting to stem the drift of our democracy into an oligarchy ruled by the wealthy and privileged at the expense of the people. One hopes that class warfare will not literally come to pass in the nation, but the brutal repression of the Occupy protesters trying to exercise their civil rights, by mayors and police sworn to protect and serve them, certainly pushes the frustration with patent injustice in the direction of violence.

William's Whimsical Words:

My bet is that the Reverend Doctor King would have been down in Zuccotti Park with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, reminding them to stay cool but remain committed in the face of the use of police power to suppress their civil rights.   The cause might be different, but the scenario would look quite familiar to him.

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