Many people are wont to wrap themselves in Martin Luther King’s mantle now that he’s safely dead these two score and five. Until yesterday, the most ludicrous example was the gun fetishist who argued that non-violence be damned, King would have agreed that slavery would have never been an issue had the prospective slaves been armed. That was in the days before the US became the greatest arms merchant of all time, so it’s unclear where the Africans would have got their weapons and the credit to buy them. Possibly they could have traded themselves.
Hard to think how anybody could top celebrating the MLK legacy with a day devoted to fondling guns, but where there’s a will. Yesterday, somebody at the Air Force Global Strike Command decided to commemorate King’s birthday with a meditation on how proud the legendary pacifist would be of the degree to which the organization charged with inflicting nuclear annihilation upon America’s enemies is integrated.
Dr. King would be proud to see our Global Strike team – comprised of Airmen, civilians and contractors from every race, creed, background and religion – standing side-by-side ensuring the most powerful weapons in the U.S. arsenal remain the credible bedrock of our national defense. . . Our team must overlook our differences to ensure perfection as we maintain and operate our weapon systems. . . Maintaining our commitment to our Global Strike team, our families and our nation is a fitting tribute to Dr. King as we celebrate his legacy.
While it’s true that some notable recent African-American Nobel peace prize winners are enthusiastic destroyers of human flesh and human endeavors, King was not among them. He did not acknowledge the beautiful necessity of the nuclear deterrent in his Nobel acceptance speech, or make a proud defense of abandoning the principles he learned from Gandhi and the saints. He did not acknowledge that nonviolence was a luxury available only to the weak. He went on about his ways. He would not be proud to see anyone holding a cocked warhead aimed at the world. This is the most perfectly crass appropriation of his memory yet. Duck and cover, Dr. King; it’s your birthday.