A King’s Easter

Pausing to Reflect on Jesus and Eggs

CounterPunch / DissidentVoice / TheRagBlog

by Greg Moses

This year–for the second time–the sad anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. falls on Easter, a day that according to Google Trends brings annual peaks of interest in the search terms Jesus and eggs.

Easter is a perfect context for thinking about King’s death in a Kingian way because as a preacher of Easter sermons he would insist that after we pay death its due we should not neglect the fact of life which after all makes death possible in the first place.

Likewise with movement. For King life was movement. And half the hope for life was bound up in hope for the next movement which in his case would have been the Poor People’s Campaign of summer 1968. I say half the hope because as a Sunday preacher King warned against placing your whole hope in human effort.

Paradoxical as it sounds, the great maestro of social movement insisted that human effort could never completely do for itself. That would be like saying Jesus resurrected himself or the egg laid itself. There’s something besides all the things you can do–which you should do–for yourself. Something the movement needs which is not the movement itself.

David Rovics sent out an email yesterday reflecting upon the growing anticipations that people are having. Something is badly needed which is not being provided. Or as the Secretary of the Treasury says, unemployment will remain at unacceptable levels for many more years to come.

A movement of some kind is in the making. What’s not so clear is how people are preparing their half of the responsibility for it. King died while doing too much. Paradoxically the preacher of Easter sermons who said human effort was only half the ingredient of movement was exhausting himself in that half trying heroically to make up for the rest of us who exhaust ourselves doing too little.

In a book of spiritual teachings I recently ran across the term “personal work” and I think King would have liked that term. In the process of nonviolence as practiced by King, “personal work” was required. During the Easter campaign of 1963, protesters were required to meditate on the life of Jesus. They had to sign cards saying they had thought deeply about the example of Jesus. Jesus was required reading.

With our common life scooped out and replaced by mass media velocities–and considering the pattern of our recent debates about health care–there is reason to think that movements have been replaced in the internet age by virtual flame wars. And the thing about flame wars is that they lack all evidence of “personal work.”

Capitalism, once again, has imploded out from underneath millions of people whom it pretended to serve. And socialism even under these conditions finds underwhelming support. Between the cracks of two deflated ideals, a necessary movement grows roots. With so much death around us, King’s Easter reminds us that if we don’t neglect “personal work” there is always hope for birth and rebirth through righteous, organized, and disciplined social movements.

Retired Generals Campaign for Health Care Equity for all Children

Operation Tiny Tim

by April Z. Fool

April 1 — A new association of retired military generals plans today to announce “Operation Tiny Tim” to secure the dignity of affordable health care for all children, not only in the USA but in all countries where US bases are located.

“Whether we have to open up our military hospitals or extend the Pentagon budget for health care to civilian facilities, we are determined to share with the children of the world nothing less than the quality medical care that our own children received as military dependents,” said General Samuel “Upright” Justice from his home in northern Virginia.

General Sawyer “True Blue” Edgemont, who served three years as Director of Medical Operations for the Joint Chiefs, said he couldn’t be more proud of the record that the military has established for quality, accessible, and affordable health care for American soldiers, spouses, and dependents around the world.

“Medical care is mission critical for us in times of war and peace,” said Edgemont. “Assuring the right to a healthy body is something we can be honored to stand for wherever Old Glory flies”

Speaking from Pasadena, California, where he serves as volunteer coordinator for a food bank, Edgemont said the idea for Operation Tiny Tim came up in a casual conversation during a Dickens reading circle last summer.

“We have the experience and commitment to excellence in federal health care,” he said. “Why not build from the strengths that we already have?”

General Lucinda “Boots” Billingame said the idea comes at a time when Americans are needlessly divided over health care reform.

“Nothing succeeds like success,” said Billingame, “so I think we can make a lasting contribution to authentic patriotism if we show ourselves and the world that America is very much a can-do country when it comes to efficient delivery of best practices in health care for coming generations.”

Defense Secretary Robert Gates was unavailable for comment at the time of this report, but a spokesman for the Pentagon, on condition of anonymity, suggested that the active-duty uniformed services would respect whatever mission that Congress and the President should decide to order.

“We’re here to serve the national interest,” said the Pentagon spokesman.

Meanwhile, reporters and producers at the international finance channel CNBC were rumored to be scouring sources and experts to determine which companies would be most likely to secure lucrative federal contracts when the campaign goes operational.

Aides for Republican Congressmen who opposed recent reforms known as “Obamacare” were quick to point out that the program proposed by the retired Generals would be expensive.

“War is not cheap,” said one well-placed aide. “Especially when you consider that the war they’re talking about will never end.”

Aides for Democrat supporters of “Obamacare” expressed concern that the Generals’ proposal would raise the spectre of a “public option” during the upcoming election cycle.

“We’ll be lucky enough to survive voter wrath for the modest expansion in health care insurance coverage,” said one insider, referring to the health insurance bill that passed in March. “I’m not sure the American people will tolerate the idea of No Child Left Behind applied to health care.”

“There is a lot of anger and mistrust out there,” added the insider. “But if an association of Generals says that they can win this Operation Tiny Tim, people on both sides of the aisle might give them a hearing.”

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When he is not writing April Fool’s fantasies, Greg Moses is Editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review and a lifetime student of what William James called the “Moral Equivalent of War.” Moses can be reached at gmosesx@gmail.com