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Jan 21, 2013

Really enjoyed reading "Beyond Race: 8 Other Important Lessons from [Rev.] Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.". For years I've considered him one of the greatest and most significant individuals to have lived during my lifetime.  His legacy is phenomenal, and I indeed learned more about it by reading this well written article.  However, I also learned that I had come across a fact that the author had not.  Mr. Matthews begins Lesson 4, Vocally Oppose War, by stating that before reading King's speech "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution," he wouldn't have guessed that the term "military-industrial complex" existed all the way back in 1968.  Actually, it existed several years before that. Though politically I've been well to the left of center ever since I was really aware of issues and politics (believe I was a "Progressive" all that time, though no one was termed Progressive back then), I have come to appreciate Dwight D. Eisenhower.  He was underrated as President, largely because he was quiet and reserved.  He was far more intelligent than most people ever realized, which in retrospect I view as unfortunate.  While not as charismatic or inspirational as the Rev. Dr. King, I believe Eisenhower could have taught lessons of his own.  He was a General who left World War II decisively anti-war.  In the early 1950's he made the observation that people did not need to be so concerned with communism as the enemy because the "military-industrial complex" would bury the United States. I suspect that was, at least in part, a reflection of the fact that although he was the Republican President of the United States, he was no great fan of the Senator from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy, also a Republican.  McCarthy was better known for the Communist "witch-hunts" he inspired and fueled.  Eisenhower's stance on that issue alone strikes me as a great indication of his intelligence.  It also shows that Eisenhower was a critical thinker, not easily swayed by half truths, prejudices, propaganda or public opinion in keeping with King's concern discussed in Lesson 6.  Unfortunately, U.S. Presidents are not all powerful, as a certain percentage of the population always seems to have believed.  Despite Senator McCarthy's outrageous activities, accusations and tactics, the President had no authority to stop him.  Ultimately he was censured by the Senate.  Despite such episodes, this country has a long and "patchwork" tradition of questioning violence, war and other weighty issues while upholding an array of freedoms, carried on by widely divergent people who are nevertheless people of vision and commitment.

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Posted: Monday January 21, 2013, 5:59 pm
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Lynda Kline
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