MLK’s giant triplets

“I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin…we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

Above are words spoken in 1967 that resonate more than ever today. Sadly, the “giant triplets” are alive and thriving in 2022. And it does not seem like we currently have the capacity to conquer those cancers of which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke eloquently about in what was not his most famous speech but may have been his finest — given at the Riverside Church in New York this same week in 1967:“Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.” Exactly one year later, Dr. King would be dead from an assassin’s bullet.


  • George Floyd figuratively lynched against a sidewalk, policeman’s knee and full-body weight planted on his neck, all the while in handcuffs as two other cops hold him down. Floyd’s last words: “I can’t breathe…”
  • A young, Black man jogging down a residential neighborhood gunned down: “Exercising while Black…”
  • A Black teenager, hoodie on, pulled over by two cops in an upper class neighborhood of who-knows-where county somewhere in the U.S. The 18-year-old is on his way to pick up his girlfriend as he drives his father’s car, a brand new Mercedes Benz. Cop to driver: “What are you doing driving this car?” “It’s my father’s car,” the young man answers nervously. “Step out of the car,” the police officer orders the Black teenager, and adds, “You know, there was a car just like this stolen from this area just last week…”
  • In Florida, where a certain DiSaster of a governor hates for Black voters to “monkey this up” (not exactly sure what he meant), the state, led by that same governor, is making sure that voting becomes more difficult for those same Black voters who he hates to see go to the polls as if they had the right to…
  • A certain president (the orange-haired clown) refers to persons coming from south of the border as “animals,” later adding, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best … They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
  • “Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons across the country at nearly five times the rate of whites, and Latinx people are 1.3 times as likely to be incarcerated than non-Latinx whites.” (From The Sentencing Project)

Extreme materialism

Vanity Fair columnist Rachel Does writes in a column titled, The Mildewed Age, that “Excessive displays of wealth are the new guiltless gilt of our times. She adds that:

  • Because of the pandemic and following “two-ish years of austerity for the rest of us, the billionaires’ collective fortune skyrocketed by 70 percent.”
  • Art Basel Miami (now partly owned by Rupert Murdoch’s son James) marked an apotheoses of pent-up demand , featuring a $115 million yacht up for auction via cryptocurrency… The world’s richest man, Elon Musk ($300 billion net worth) arrived via private jet, three security guards, a baby, a nanny, and a Shiba Inu. A few weeks later Time Magazine declared him Person of the Year.
  • At the end of last October, “two of the world’s great thinkers on climate change — Jeff Bezos, he of the Bezos Earth Fund, and Bill Gates, author of How to Avoid a Climate Disaster — were spotted superyacht hopping in the Aegean Sea.” Gates was aboard a 350-foot ship that rents for $2 million per week, while, from his superyacht he took helicopter rides to Turkey where they partied like it was 1999. “Bezos arrived via his own rented superyacht” while he awaits construction of his new $500 million, 417-foot superyacht, as well as a 246-foot support yacht for helicopter landings… As written by Does, “Never mind that superyachts emit roughly the same amount of carbon the average American produces in an entire year…” Add to that the fact that Bezos’ bigger boat will require dismantling part of a historic bridge in order to pass through Rotterdam this summer… 


I suggest you read my previous column, Mr. President, stop acting like a Sleepy Joe.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a prophet and one of the truly great Americans (something too often overused), was assassinated on April 4, 1968, or 54 years ago this week. I suggest you listen to his Beyond Vietnam speech. He foresaw the future and tried to right it. As of this writing, his dream of conquering the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism is failing wildly.

And if he is able to see, Dr. King is turning circles in his grave.