After mis-quoting William Shakespeare in our last newsletter, I felt it was important to find another quote to illustrate the relationship between the Pine Bush and Iraq.
This month, we are having Joe Quandt speak about Iraq. We usually limit our speaker to issues relating to the Pine Bush or other related environmental issues, and do not get involved in larger political issues.
However, with the looming war in Iraq, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act, there will be very little money left over for purchase of Pine Bush for preservation. A war in Iraq will be very costly, in terms of human lives, and in money. It is such an overwhelming issue, that we, at Save the Pine Bush, cannot ignore it.
In that vein, I would like to quote Dr. Martin Luther King. This quote comes from a speech Dr. King gave on January 14, 1968. He had visited Joan Baez and her mother in jail and he gave the speech outside the Santa Rita jail in California afterwards. The speech* was played on Democracy Now! on November 19, 2002, and is available for audio download at the archives at pacifica.org.
“And I do not plan to cooperate with evil at any point. Somebody said to me not too long ago,
“ ‘Dr. King don’t you think you are hurting your leadership by taking a stand against the war in Viet Nam? Aren’t people who once respected you going to loose respect for you? And aren’t you hurting the budget of your organization?’
“And I had to look at that person and say,
“‘I am sorry sir, you don’t know me. I am not a consensus leader. And I do not determine what is right and wrong by looking at the budget of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference or by taking a Gallup poll of the majority opinion. Ultimately a genuine leader is not a [follower**] of consensus but a molder of consensus.’
“On some positions cowardice asks the question, ‘is it safe?’
“Expediency asks the question, ‘is it is politic?’
“Vanity asks the question, ‘is it is popular?’
“But conscience asks the question, ‘is it right?’
“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right. And that is where I stand today and that is where I hope you will continue to stand so that we can speed up the day when justice will roll down like waters all over the world and righteousness like a mighty stream. And we will speed up the day when men will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks and nations will not rise up against nations neither they will not start a war anymore and I close by saying as we sing in the old Negro spiritual,
“I ain’t going to study war no more.”
* I transcribed this speech from the audio recording
** On the tape, this word was garbled and I am assuming Dr. King said “follower”.
Printed in the January/February 2003 Newsletter