Rep. Maxine Waters has been accused by Mr. Trump and even members of her own party of using language that could be construed to incite violence. Martin Luther King was also at one time accused of inciting violence, Ms. Waters, like Dr. King, insists that she supports nonviolent protests but she encourages Americans to stand up to tyranny by bold acts of peaceful resistance and by speaking truth to power. This kind of resistance has been an American tradition with the likes of young black people sitting down at a lunch counter and refusing to leave until people of color were allowed to be served; hundreds of thousands of anti-Vietnam War protestors taking to the streets, willing to be arrested and imprisoned to stop that unjust and cruel war; hundreds of people willing to be arrested at sit-ins in government offices and institutions around the country to protest Trump’s vicious practice of separating children from their parents; indigenous people putting their freedom on the line to try to stop an oil pipeline that threatens their lands and the planet; environmental activists who relentlessly fight to protect our air and water by physically endangering themselves; young high school survivors of gun violence boldly confronting their elected officials; athletes defying their teams’ owners and jeopardizing their careers to bring attention to police brutality against black people. And yes a restaurant owner, a person of color, who had the courage to refuse to serve a representative of an oppressive government that is deliberately targeting people of color with its vicious and dangerous racist policies. These behaviors might not be polite and these people may not be behaving the way their parents brought them up; but silence, politeness and passivity are no longer options. Martin Luther King said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.
However, those who decry the words of Rep. Waters should pay attention to the real promotion of violence in this country and that is the support for a military budget that is draining precious resources, inflicting chaos and death around the world and destroying our planet while our government seems incapable of providing adequate education, housing and food for American families. When a member of Congress votes to expand our already bloated military without asking where the money will come from and almost in the same breath proclaiming that we, the richest country in the world, cannot afford to provide health care for all its people, that member is indirectly committing not one but two acts of violence.
Dr. Martin Luther King in his speech protesting the Vietnam war said, “The United States is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” Nothing has changed.
Not one member of the US Congress or Senate has signed the PDA Peace Pledge, which you can find on our website. However Deb Haaland, who is almost certain to represent NM in the first congressional district, was one of the first to sign. Thank you, Deb.