MLK And Addressing Spiritual Death On Campus

martin luther king

“Not only are ‘leaders’ here not putting money into social uplift in lieu of diverting funds for death abroad, they are — quite by design — undermining safety nets for the express purpose of making the vast majority of concerned citizens incapable of fighting for their enlightened self-interest effectively, being physically too weak. Add moral decline to that, and their success is ensured.”  — a teenager studying at the Flannery O’Connor Academy, the inspiration for this article

When you walk onto the campus of Cabrillo College, you can come across a bust of Dr. Martin Luther King which has an inscription that only refers to his Civil Rights work. You’ll note — if you click on the link above — that that institution of so-called higher education advertises itself as a place where important discoveries are made (“Breakthroughs happen here” is conspicuously inscribed directly under the institution’s name.).

No, no meaningful “breakthroughs” can be made at this juncture anywhere in academia, if the leaders of educational circles are hiding MLK’s stance against militarism, ignoring his warning about the Spiritual Death of the U.S. And that’s the case at just about every single campus I polled or observed over the last year.

All U.S. presidents — the leaders of leaders, supposedly — have gone far beyond burying MLK’s warning, they’ve absolutely removed it from discussion in so-called enlightened quarters. Neither political leaders nor academic leaders in the U.S. are going to change their tune regarding this compounding of ignorance with ignorance. But you can and must do something about the fact that that inscription under the bust at Cabrillo College is becoming more and more typical of the treatment that’s being given to MLK’s legacy.

Whether or not you’re associated with any given campus, I believe that the reader is obliged to check out the nearest institution of higher education to her/his home and see what “tributes” are given to MLK, what information provided for the impressionable youth — “leaders of tomorrow” — they serve. Noting what words are used, what is omitted.

You’d never know that Helen Keller was a radical activist to visit her preserved home in Alabama. The family grounds in Tuscumbia do not include any reference whatsoever to what was most dear to her heart vis-a-vis civic engagement. But that’s a whole different ball of wax — as bad as that is — from institutions of so-called higher education committing sins of omission about what led to the assassination of MLK. And that confrontation with the U.S. military powers that be most certainly must be linked to his early death, the waste of so much potential in the realm of spiritual improvement.

Here is a case where a case can be made for “You’re either with us, or against us.” Without dividing people. For if you’re an academic and you’re tolerating the MLK take that says Martin was merely or mainly a Civil Rights activist… well, you’re not well. You’re not academically or spiritually well. And you’re being a very unhealthy role model for the students. If you’re simply a citizen living near a college or university which promotes such dangerous ignorance… well, I believe that you must count yourself as complicit in contributing to our Spiritual Death.

What’s it take to stir up trouble legitimately? To leave a message for a college president. To write a letter to an editor.

It’s not enough, of course, to only do that. But that, perhaps, will get the ball rolling for you… to get you to more seriously address our Spiritual Death.

Less than a dozen minutes will underscore why Spiritual Death is an appropriate term to use. You’ll note that since that footage was recorded our descent has accelerated significantly, making movement in positive new solidarity truly urgent.

Rachel Oxman can be reached at [email protected]. If you visit a local campus, and want her to contact some college or university rep, feel free to ask  her to “let them have it.” All sorts of good can come from making contact with her, she believes. Hey, why not have lots of readers send a copy of this piece to the the president of Cabrillo College for feedback?


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