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Monday, January 21, 2008

MLK on Israel Palestinians and The Dem/GOP Prez Race

What would MLK think about the Israeli-Palestinian situation and the Democrat/GOP Presidential race?

Today is MLK Day - and it was announced that the Israelis had cut power to all of Gaza, with the temperatures in the 50’s, when they stopped diesel fuel that runs their power plant from going into Gaza. Everyone in Gaza is being punished for the acts of a few extremists, including women, babies and little kids with no heat or light. Food shipments have been cut as well.

As I sit looking out at a blustery, cloudy sky whipping over the lake, thinking how miserable it would be without power, and think about the recent Presidential debate on MLK, LBJ and civil rights, it is an appropriate time to wonder what Martin Luther King would think about the Israeli-Palestinian situation.

Like blacks in the south in the 60’s, I think MLK would feel a common bond with Palestinians who have no rights and no votes, no rights to travel, no chance to recover land taken by Israeli settlers. I think MLK would see that they have no control over shipments of fuel for their power plant or food for their tables, and would identify with their struggle for respect and equality.

Even President Bush was taken aback on a recent trip to Israel when weather forced him to travel by motorcade instead of helicopter. He commented publicly at the overwhelming number of checkpoints along the short trip – he felt it was excessive and was concerned about its impact on Palestinian life. That is quite an admission from a President who has always been loyal backer of Israel.

MLK Day should not just be a day for Democrat Presidential hopefuls, but GOP ones as well. One day we will all be in the minority and will want the respect and equal rights that Martin Luther King wanted, that women have wanted (and still want), as well as Palestinians , Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq, tribes in Kenya, etc.

All want the American dream of freedom and equality. We should be acting to make that dream a reality as the President has in Israel, trying to broker a peace deal in his last year. Kenya needs the same attention.

As MLK would probably feel, it is better for change to come late, then never at all. But he would also feel, as many of us do, that: "Justice delayed is justice denied."

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