Wednesday, April 30, 2008
A friend and former classmate of mine J. S. Tissianayagam has been arrested by the govt. of SL. He has not been charged with a crime, and has been detained for almost 2 months. They will not charge him nor release him and will not let anyone see him. The govt. wants him to admit that he is a terrorist, which he is not. If he will not admit that then they want him to rescind everything he has written about the the govt. He has been a critic of the govt. and this is their way of getting back at him.
I have attached a website from AI where they have a form letter that could be sent to the Sri Lankan ambassador in the US and the president requesting his release. Those of you who know him could also add to the letter.
He has a degenerative eye condition that could lead to blindness if he does not get treatment. The sooner he gets released the quicker he could get this taken care of.
It only takes a minute. If you could do it I would greatly appreciate it. Attached below is the website.
The link takes you to Amnesty International’s site.
Doing this is not only important because an innocent man is being held unethically and illegally, even according to Sri Lankan law, but it’s important to do this because, for all of us, it expresses the fact that We The People don’t condone this behavior no matter whose government exhibits it.
Please sign the petition.
“Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them.” - Bill Vaughan
World Conditions and Action Items
Where I Am
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I write articles that are published in OpEdNews and, when I do, I sometimes reference articles I’ve written which have been published in OpEdNews. When I do that, I often wonder if readers look at those references and think, “Narcissist, narcissist! I’ll never read an article written by a person who promotes his own articles. Narcissist, I tell you!”
Besides the fact that I am somewhat innately paranoid, I’m wondering at this particular moment if readers think that way. You see, I didn’t receive any comments the last time an article of mine was published.
I know, I know. Again, “Narcissist, narcissist! Not only does he want us to read the article which is in the latest OEN publication, not only does he try to get us to go back and read some of his older articles by referencing them in the most recent article, but now he wants comments! Narcissist, narcissist, I say!”
I bet almost everyone would like to know what readers think about his or her articles. It’s only natural. It’s also inevitable that some articles won’t draw comments and many, maybe most, of mine have not drawn comments. I may be a narcissist in some ways, but it’s OK with me if my articles don’t inspire readers to comment.
However, here’s the catch.
Tom Ridge, the first and former Secretary of Homeland Security, has outed The Regime by confirming what many of us suspected. Many of us believe that, if any member or members of The Regime does or says something that’s controversial, is not in the best interest of the nation or is just plain illegal, the color coded “terrorist in the house” warning system changes it hue, distracting the masses. In fact, Keith Olberman exposed this practice on his “Countdown” television program. He actually equated changes in the warning system to specific events that The Regime obviously thought could have made it look bad.
It wasn’t so much a startling exposé as it was an affirmation that The Regime is not in touch with reality. The truth is, if The Regime wants to use color coding to distract people from noticing that it looks bad, the color coding would be flashing somewhat like a disco ball.
The point is “distraction”, though, isn’t it?
During the so called political campaigns in 2000, 2002, 2004 and even 2006, The Regime dusted off and shined up its wedge issues. Yes, during campaign season, George Bush, Dick Cheney and their Velcro troops become defenders of good, wholesome family values. They promise amendments to The Constitution outlawing same sex marriage, abortion, flag burning and flagless lapels. Well, they haven’t suggested an amendment for the last beacon of patriotism - - yet.
While it incites its base to passionately shun those of us who disagree with them in the areas of love, self determination and how cloth ought to be handled, The Regime continues its attack on the nation whose governance is in its paws. It continues to push “free trade agreements” with every third world country and every nation ruled by tyrants – the kind that don’t hide that fact that they’re tyrants - and the consequential damage those agreements do to Americans who are consistently worth less than a million dollars, it continues strengthening the belief that war is so inevitable as to be considered a way of life, it continues to make up rules as it goes along which steadily makes the unitary presidency appear more natural to more people as time passes and it always surprises those of us who actually pay attention with new and even more despicable acts and behaviors.
The point is “distraction”, though, isn’t it?
The Regime has its shills to help with its distraction. An entire national, no, international television network, which dresses up as a 24 hour cable news network, is constantly rototilling the soil so that The Regime can grow and spread its deception.
The Regime arose from The Republican Party and now John McCain is running for president so that The Regime can stay in power. It’s very fortunate for The Regime that McCain promised to do his best imitation of George W. Bush for four years starting in 2009. It would have been a lot more difficult if The Regime had to resort to what many of us suspected it may resort to and that’s finding an excuse to “push the elections back”. It would have had to plan how and where Al Qaeda would cause death and destruction within The FUSA and that would probably entail parting with large sums of money to convince Osama Bin Laden to influence more of his deaf, dumb and blind followers to carry out its plan. Whew! Thank god for John McCain.
Good thing Democrats aren’t trained in the practice of deception, isn’t it?
I did try to make a case that this “exciting”, fingernail biting primary “season” is theatrics in my previous article, “Stop The Theatrics” (no link in avoidance of narcissism). As I mentioned, though, no one commented. It was silly of me to try to point out how this presidential campaign has thus far been nothing but theater and the actors are following scripts as rehearsal for following a script once one of them is “elected” as our next president. I should have known no one could have been distracted from what could possibly the most important presidential election in the history of this nation.
Now that I think of it, I tried to make the same points in 2004, but I overlooked the fact that people would not be sundered from their involvement in what could have been the most important presidential election in the history of this nation. I wonder why I continue to overlook that fact. We were told by some extremely intelligent people that John Kerry may not have been perfect, but any Democrat would have been better than four more years of George W. Bush. Who knew what our country would have looked like if George W. Bush was re-elected?
I’m guessing we all sighed a sigh of relief when we came to the conclusion that Bush was not reelected, that he merely stole another presidential election.
Four years have passed and George W. Bush is still the president in spite of the effort of many of our finest citizens to have him and his entire administration impeached. The nation has lost more of its military personnel, we’ve murdered more Iraqi civilians, the economy is still in decline in the real world even though there are statistics that can be and are erroneously used to debate that conclusion and war as a way of life has taken us to the brink of a winner leave all confrontation with Iran.
Again, I write an article that attempts to gain your attention and distract you from the most important issue of the day which is, “What’s the score?”
How many delegates does Barrack really have? How many does Hillary really have? Should we count Florida and Michigan?
And what about those sneaky “super delegates”? My god, we’ve even stolen the lingo of the sporting world!
Super delegates? Super Bowl. Super heavyweight. Super duper delegates.
Ladies and gentlemen – wake up! No one is running to be the next commander-in-chief of the American armed forces, the next “leader of the free world”.
Oh, I’m a Truther all right and I’ve even read some interesting articles about the assassination of John F. Kennedy, although I’d never gotten into that for some reason or another. But this one is a doozy, isn’t it? The conspiracy theory of conspiracy theories. See, I told you I was a bit paranoid.
Note that I didn’t write that no one is running to be the next president of the United States. You see, I’m not sure I’m talking about a true conspiracy. I’m not sure that Hillary, Barrack and McCain got together and decided they’d put on a show for the American people. I actually believe that they’re vying for a position as they perceive that position.
They’ve even told us how they perceive that position.
They’ve raised otherworldly sums of money to finance these theatrics. They have received a fair amount of that money from corporations and groups to whom one of them will be beholden once the “election” has been played out. We can easily find out how much money any one of them has received from corporations or “special interest groups” – god I hate politalk.
When they’ve given a moment to speaking about what intelligent Americans want to hear, the “real issues”, we’ve found that none of the candidates is in any hurry to end our occupation of Iraq.
All of them, in one manner or another, want to keep some kind of “emergency force in the area” or want to make sure that, when and if we bring our troops home, we do it in a “responsible manner”.
All of them, even Barrack, is willing to engage Iran militarily. It’s just that he’s said he’d talk to them before “obliterating” them. Oh, yeah, that was Hillary, wasn’t it? Not the talking part, the obliteration part.
Any Democrat is better than John McCain? If I’m an Iranian and my skin is slithering from my bones, I bet I’m not saying, “What a relief. It’s so much better to be obliterated by a Democratic president than a Republican president.”
Yet, intelligent people, like my favorite radio host Thom Hartmann, say that Hillary’s “obliterate” remark truly troubles them. Thom, in fact, said that he’s waiting to hear Hillary define “obliteration”. She’s a Democrat, so I’m sure it’s not the kind of obliteration that John McCain would initiate.
We have to actually wait for Hillary to make a speech defining “obliteration”? Does no one know how to use a dictionary?
The candidates really can’t talk about unemployment, can they? You may say it’s because unemployment in our country isn’t anywhere near the worse it’s ever been.
I’m sure that Obama and Clinton have spoken about under-employment. This is where an American, indeed, has a job, but the job doesn’t pay enough to raise a family of two.
So they won’t speak about unemployment but sometimes will talk about underemployment. But this nation isn’t really suffering from either. It’s suffering from overemployment. Yep, unemployment numbers look promising if one doesn’t take into account the fact that, many times, the very same person may hold jobs for two different employers and still fail to make ends meet. What are they going to do about “overemployment”, the condition under which people spend their entire life being employed?
None of the candidates have made the campaign promise to re-level the playing field so that it’s once again fair for American workers. This, of course, can only be done by turning back the clock to the time when tariffs ensured that Americans wouldn’t lose their jobs because they’re unwilling to work for a few dollars a day.
It’s gotten so we “Progressives” have become satisfied with what Obama and Clinton have proposed to solve the problem of accessible health care, although neither propose what’s right and just.
This country has a name, The United States of America (although, in truth, it’s The Former United States of America) and it’s represented by a very lovely flag.
However, this country isn’t its name nor is it a smartly designed piece of cloth. This country is the land and the people who inhabit that land. Fighting for one’s country does not have to entail uniforms and weapons. In fact, I know that this is an unpopular position to take, but the military personnel in Iraq are not fighting for the land and the people who inhabit the land which is called The United States of America and is represented by a tri-colored flag. Those who killed and died in Vietnam were not fighting “for their country” either.
What’s right and just is for the citizens of this nation to become “real world” patriots and fight for their country by defending the land and the people that inhabit it. If we stopped paying for our military and its wars, we could all fight for our country by paying to help those who’ve been tossed aside like worn wash rags by greed-filled, wealth driven corporate humanoids. That’s not only right and just, but it’s patriotic as well. It not only supports our troops, it supports all of us.
I admit I’ve presented the problems. Some may think that this is a War And Peace length bitch session. I’ve not proposed a solution.
Many of my articles do point to the cracks in the walls, but I’ve been known to recommend steps towards solutions.
I really hate to pick on old Thom Hartmann again. As an aside, I think the reason I express disappointment in some of the things that Thom says is because of the great admiration I have for him and for what I believe he really stands for. He lets it slip out on occasion and it’s nothing like what Kerry, Clinton (either of them) or Obama propose. I think when someone to whom one looks up says or does something that we know is somewhat disingenuous it hurts a whole lot worse than when someone that we expect to be a dick is a dick.
Nonetheless, Hartmann suggests contacting members of Congress. If any of you have made a habit of doing that as I have you’ve probably got the reams of form letters and letters “agreeing with” you while disagreeing with you. If you save emails, you’ve probably got folder upon folder of the same kind of communications. You’ve probably spoken to enough interns to be able to make a decision concerning which ones to hire and which ones not to hire (thought I was gonna say something nasty about Bill Clinton, didn’t ya?).
Contacting members of Congress about the welfare of our nation is akin to contacting the fox concerning the welfare of the hens. The addiction to money and other favors that can be and are provided by wealthy lobbyists representing wealthy “special interest” groups trump your phone call, email or letter any day. Asking members of Congress to fix a process which, as is, benefits members of Congress has been, at least for me, a joke in the genre known as black humor.
Another solution is to go to Democratic Party meetings and become active in the party. To a certain extent, one may be successful doing that. However, just as software providers always include a “free trial” of the next best thing within the packaging of the “thing” we purchase hoping that we’ll pay for the “next best thing”, attending local Democratic Party meetings makes it clear that in order to proceed to the “next best thing”, one has to begin to pay.
Electing Democrats, it’s been suggested, no matter how much what they say sounds like what a Republican would say, would at least get a Democrat in place. Makes sense to me.
From there, continues the myth, the next step is to remind the elected official that he or she is a Democrat and really didn’t mean what she or he said during the campaign. To take it a step further, it will then be a cinch to convince the elected official, say, for instance, Kerry, Clinton or Obama, that he or she really didn’t want to support NAFTA or other “free trade” agreements, that she or he really didn’t want to continue to vote to give The Regime money to help solidify its colonization of Iraq, that he or she really believes what’s said by our National Intelligence Estimate and shouldn’t look at Iran as an enemy, that she or he has no reason to consider Venezuela and its leader, Hugo Chávez an enemy of the United States. A cinch, no doubt.
A Democrat was elected in 1964 and the next step was his virtual resignation in 1968.
A Democrat was elected in 1976 and he boycotted an Olympics, failed to rescue Americans held hostage by Iran and promised that all administrations from his own until the year 2000 would carry through his vision that every American home would be using solar energy by 2000.
A Democrat was elected in 1992 and he became a Republican.
What’s the solution?
I continue to narcissistically promote my article “Priority Number One”, (I guess I just can’t help it).
However, before we begin directly voting for those for whom we vote, maybe we should insist upon a discussion clarifying the real purpose of the fourteenth amendment to The Constitution and remove corporate influence from our electoral process.
OK, so we’re up against the wall. Contacting Congress is useless and doing an intervention for a Democrat once one is elected is to change the nature of our relationship with wealth and probably won’t happen.
I don’t know.
I guess I’ll leave you with a few narcissistic suggestions.
If we think contacting our members of Congress will do any good, well, it ain’t gonna happen.
Maybe it’s time to work outside the system.
Maybe it’s just time to ask if there’s still time.
“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep insights can be winnowed from deep nonsense.” - Carl Sagan
Monday, April 14, 2008
(originally published at OpEdNews)
I’m what used to be called a liberal and is now called a Progressive. I’m proud that I’ve chosen to support and help perpetuate the domestic policies of FDR. He read into The Constitution not only what was written in black and white, but what he believed the signers had in mind for how we should use The Constitution as the law of the land in years beyond their own. He thought logically enough to give the signers credit for not holding future generations to laws that might become irrelevant with the passing of time.
The Declaration of Independence, although not formally part of The Constitution, clearly lays out the goals which The Constitution was intended to meet. Three of those goals were to always provide “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” for Americans. To write a constitution that would fly in the face of those three goals would not only be inconsistent but would be a sort of “bait and switch” on the part of the signers.
Those who consider themselves “strict constitutionalists” seem to emphasize what The Constitution does not say or, at the very least, does not allow by the mere fact that it does not specifically spell out certain provisions. To further attempt to clarify how The Constitution is viewed by some; The Constitution is not a populist document. It wasn’t written to protect the rights of people. It was written to deny people certain “inalienable rights”.
Libertarians may say that they believe that The Constitution actually protects the right of people to bear arms, to put anything into their bodies that they want to put into their bodies, to keep the money which they earn without having to share it with those less fortunate and other individualist rights (as opposed to social responsibilites).
I’ve already written about this subject in an article entitled “Is The Constitution Really That Unfair?”, so that’s as much as I’ll write about it in this article.
There have been several articles published lately that attempt to define Progressivism or Liberalism. Some of these articles were written to prove that Obama or Clinton are not true Progressives, others have been written to prove that one or the other or both are, indeed, Progressives.
Today, however, many people think that being Progressive means never having to say you’re a Republican. Today, many people think that being Progressive is synonymous with being a Democrat.
There are entire groups of people who believe that they’re Progressive, but are nothing more and nothing less than Democratic Party apologists.
An example of one of these groups is MoveOn.org.
MoveOn may have supported someone other than John Kerry for the Democratic nomination for president in 2004. Nonetheless, when it was obvious that Kerry was going to be the Democratic nominee, they stood behind him 100%.
In fact, during his 2004 bid for the presidency, Kerry said that he would add 40,000 more troops to the military. This sounds like a “surge” of sorts, does it not?
Yet, many Progressives and Progressive groups slammed Ralph Nader for running in 2004 because, they claimed, he would take votes away from Kerry. Amazingly, Progressives attacked the only Progressive who was in the race in 2004 without asking themselves, “If Kerry was really a progressive, why would there have been any chance that Nader would have taken votes away from him?”
Indeed, if Kerry was a Progressive, would Nader have even entered the race? Maybe there are those who believe that Nader is a power hungry fanatic, but looking at his history, we find non partisan, non politically driven activities which he initiated that were always in the best interest of the American people?
Not only was Kerry not going to end the war in Iraq in what I, at least, believe would have been a timely manner, his domestic policies weren’t Progressive either. Indeed, NAFTA, which Kerry supported, is a policy which supports “globalization”. “Globalization” doesn’t sound like a domestic policy, but it sure as hell is. It’s a domestic policy in that it punishes American workers by outsourcing their jobs to third world countries. Creating unemployment in this country is not a good domestic policy and it certainly flies in the face of FDR’s domestic policies.
There is at least one more detail which promotes the Democrats=Progressive myth.
World War I, World War II, The Korean War, The Vietnam War and military action in Bosnia were all carried out under Democratic administrations. I’m sure that some believe that Vietnam was in Eisenhower’s plans. It may very well may have been in Truman’s plans as well, however.
In the late 60s and early 70s, there were more Progressives among The Democratic Party’s collection of presidential candidates than among that of The Republican Party.
Bobby Kennedy was thought to be a Progressive, but a tragedy stilled his opportunity to prove that one way or another.
Eugene McCarthy was to that time period what Dennis Kucinich is to today, a candidate for a nomination that he, his supporters and everyone else who’s paying any attention at all realizes he will never win.
George McGovern, one of the Progressives during that time, actually won the nomination, but, if I remember correctly, received the support of 1/50th of the states in the general election.
Even John Kennedy, who said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”, threatened the world with the ultimate devastation because a neighboring nation had the gall to decide that it would arm itself with a small number of the kinds of weapons possessed by the US en masse. What an irony if The Soviet Union did not back down.
And the “Ask not…” statement; was he telling all Americans not to ask for help in spite of the fact that they, through no fault of their own, may have needed help? Was that famous statement a statement of Libertarianism on some level?
I certainly don’t have the answer in either of the above cases. However, JFK is thought by many to have been a Progressive president.
Add to this that the largest step in the Civil Rights movement happened under a Republican president. No, Lincoln was not the Caucasian version of Martin Luther King Jr. We know that freeing the slaves was not Lincoln’s main reason for initiating The Civil War. Yet, without The Emancipation Proclamation, the progress of The Civil Rights Movement would have been held back by a number of years.
The greatest progress in keeping corporations in check took place under Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican president, and Title IX which gave women’s collegiate sports the same importance as men’s collegiate sports was passed during the Nixon administration. This begs the question, “Whence did the myth that The Democratic Party is the party of the people come?”
One place it came from was the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. What he did for Americans, with the exception of Americans of color, was more populist than what any other president did before him or has done since. FDR was no pacifist, however.
Do I think that The Republican Party is more progressive than The Democratic Party? Not in a million years.
What I believe is that there’s not “a dime’s worth of difference between” The Republicans and The Democrats. I’ve received some very “strong disagreement” when I’ve previously written that statement, but there is no way that it can be proved that Clinton or Obama will be a progressive president. In fact, based on their slick, weaselly approach to questions concerning Iraq, either Clinton or Obama could keep us in Iraq for 100 years. McCain’s just been more honest about being unethical.
In truth, Republican candidates admit that they’re dicks during their campaigns while Democrats speak like Progressives but turn out to be dicks once they’re elected. Witness the consequences of the 2006 elections.
In many of my articles, I reference the person who I believe is the very best radio talk show host that I’ve ever heard and I still listen to him daily. I’m not sure that I agree with his rendition of the difference between Conservatives and Progressives.
Thom Hartmann has said on many occasions that the difference between Progressives and Conservatives is that Conservatives believe that people are innately evil and Progressives believe people are innately good.
Yet, Conservatives, especially Libertarians, claim that people should be trusted to do the right things. They claim that, without regulations, people and corporations will increase employment in the US, will do their best, through competition, to satisfy the customer, that pharmaceutical companies will find cures for everything because their profitability will depend on it. Naïve claims, at best.
Progressives want to force regulations on corporations and people. They want to force employers to hire people of all races, genders, sexual orientation and ethnicity while Conservatives say that this will happen without regulations. I happen to know for a fact that this would not happen without regulations.
Progressives want to force manufacturing facilities to implement safety and environmental improvements because they believe, quite rightly, that manufacturing facilities won’t do it on their own. Believing that protection for workers and the environment must be mandated is not a strong argument that people are innately good. Yet, only the threat of stiff fines or even a bit of jail time will force greedy corporate CEOs and their upper management cohorts to do the right and ethical thing.
There are some people which members of the Democratic Party are less “of” than others.
For example, I heard no outrage from Barrack Obama or Hillary Clinton when Kucinich was excluded from certain Democratic debates. These two “candidates of the people” didn’t insist that all candidates, no matter their wealth or the size of their campaign chest, had the right to remain in the race until the final moment.
This brings me to my final point.
Do you know how much we spent on investigating Clinton’s sexual peccadilloes? The fact that he cheated on his wife had nothing to do with his ability to be president. The Republicans needed something to bring Clinton down.
Elliot Spitzer was being watched. Republicans were spying on him. This is wrong. Elliot Spitzer’s life is his own and no one has the right to tail him.
If Clinton took his job seriously, he could at least have carried on his affair(s) while he was not carrying on the business of the American people. This is not something upon which Progressives want to dwell.
The fact is that, no matter how much he was being watched, rightly or wrongly, Spitzer would never have been caught with a prostitute if he, indeed, was never with a prostitute.
Let’s face it. Progressives beat the hell out of Larry Craig and David Vitter, though. The difference, of course, is that both Craig and Vitter pretended to support “family values” while, of course, not practicing them.
I’m not sure if Clinton ever claimed to support family values, but Spitzer was going to wipe out corruption – when others manifested that behavior.
What we are witnessing now are theatrics. No one raises the kind of money it takes to remain in a presidential campaign this long without quid pro quo agreements having taken place. The agreements made today between the remaining candidates and their “donors” will determine what those candidates will do if elected.
There’s been a lot of wasted space on this and other news outlets talking about Obama’s minister, Clinton’s elitist attitude or McCain’s age and past human driven indiscretions and transgressions, the kind that not many of us can deny we’ve experienced. None of them make a bit of difference because these three people have openings on their backs into which the hand of The Corporacracy fits perfectly.
Stop debating about the candidates’ qualifications until you learn them. Stop defending pseudo-Progressives when they digress and stop attacking “hypocritical” Conservatives when they digress. The propaganda of such ultra-partisanship is painfully transparent.
Progressives, like Ralph Nader and candidates from The Green Party, are not problems. They want to solve the problems.
On the other hand, pseudo-Progressives talk about solving problems, but they’re each a part of the problem. They lie to suck you in and, judging by the frivolity of the current articles and mainstream news, they, as always, have succeeded.
If it wasn’t for the American political process, the process by which Americans merely vote for people who are going to vote on their behalf, more truly Progressive candidates could be heard by more people for longer periods of time and, possibly, their ideas could be totally sorted out on a playing field equal to the one on which the defensive drivers drive.
If it wasn’t for the American political process, the process by which Americans merely vote for people who are going to vote on their behalf, truly Progressive candidates could be heard by more people for longer periods of time and, possibly, their ideas could be totally sorted out on a playing field equal to the one on which the defensive drivers drive.
Are Americans intelligent enough to make the right decision if they hear the candidates’ unadulterated policy positions in lieu of one minute sound bites which are more often than not about their opponent’s weaknesses? Do you know the answer to that question? I don’t. You know why I don’t? Americans have never had the opportunity to hear a well thought out dissertation of the position of a political candidate because no political candidate has ever been held to that standard.
Don't we want to see political candidates, especially candidates for president, held to a higher standard, a standard by which they're required to speak about the issues in no uncertain terms; a standard by which answers to questions which they are asked must actually be included in their answers to questions which they are asked; a standard by which they talk almost exclusively about the issues and how they will address those issues and refrain from telling us about their opponent's weaknesses?
If we keep supporting the kind of theatrics that take place during every election cycle, how a candidate will handle a policy once elected will always be a surprise to us. If we continue to help perpetuate a system that allows only those who have obscene quantities of money to obtain political positions which, if held by people who cared, might have the potential to steer this country in positive, populist direction, people who care and who might have the potential to steer this country in a positive, populist direction will never get the opportunity to try.
The top issue in every election past, present and future, priority number one, what has to be accomplished before anything meaningful can be done is election reform.
“It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important.” - Martin Luther King Jr.