Letter: What would King do today?
The 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech was not just a time to reminisce. If King were alive, what moral issues would he address?
He would challenge the “Stand Your Ground” law that led to the acquittal of George Zimmerman following his shooting of Trayvon Martin. Homicide rates have risen close to 10 percent in states with stand-your-ground laws.
King would condemn voting restrictions that target minority voters, students, elderly, poor. The Supreme Court recently struck down a key provision in the 1965 Voting Rights Act. No longer are states required to seek federal approval before changing election practices. Some have already passed new restrictions.
He would focus on economic injustice: an increasing concentration of wealth, a shrinking middle class, a frozen minimum wage that does not keep pace. A top executive in a corporation used to make maybe 40 times what the little guy made. Now, some CEOs make 400 times as much – corporate greed gone amuck! McDonald’s says it can’t afford to raise wages. Last year, the McDonald’s CEO made $13 million.
King would address the increasing gun violence in our nation. In guns per population we are second only to Yemen. Yikes! We’ve lost more than 7,500 Americans to gun violence just since the Newtown shootings – more Americans than we lost in the Iraq war. Some of our elected officials are more beholden to the gun lobby than to what most Americans want.
Without losing the Second Amendment right to bear arms, we could require background checks, make gun trafficking a federal crime and ban assault weapons. It’s absurd for ordinary citizens to have as much or more fire power than our police have. It’s not fair to the police.
DWIGHT S. HAYNES