I received this comment on my April 3rd post and I wanted to reprint it here along with my response because even though I know what I'm thinking and then trying to say, sometimes I am unclear. I appreciate feedback that helps me get better at it!
the first domino said:"Deb: I believe he was equating the state of American politics, policies and business at the time, to the "Burning House" - a house in which Blacks had NO hand in building. I agree. Yet, his statement seems more grim than that. It almost suggests a "separation doctrine." I believe that Rev. King was keenly aware of the corruptive power of white America, that it had traded its soul in it's endeavor to surpass economically the rest of the world. I believe that he felt that the souls of black people were also at risk in this country. I believe that he felt that integration would put us in the middle of that corruption, and that the result would be catastrophic for us as well: we, too, pursuing the American dream as it was then fashioned, would lose our collective souls. Better to stand apart than go down with a house built on slavery, harsh segregation, and a economic system more materialistic than compassionate. And Rev. King's following statement is both intriguing and challenging. “Become the firemen. Let’s not stand by and let the house burn.” Surely he wasn't advocating the preservation of a failed house, or those who had set it on fire in the first place. Firemen put fires out. Maybe the firemen he had in mind were those among us willing to replace the house with a more fireproof one, or douse the fires already burning by giving the country a new fireproof direction. What is needed, then, are political carpenters and masons, as well as able firemen. The house, then, could be rebuilt within the structure of the old house using the old foundation, via life-affirming, political policies, economic compassion, and racial equality, or outside of the house--a violent takeover of the house. The former is my preference, and it was probably Dr. King's preference, as well. But one never knows."
========================================I responded: the first domino...Hey, how are you?? You are saying exactly what I meant though I did not delineate each point you raise - I have to do better on that. I don't agree, however that he was suggesting a "separation doctrine" as that course would be counter to everything he spent his life trying to achieve. I believe, as you stated, "Maybe the firemen he had in mind were those among us willing to replace the house with a more fireproof one, or douse the fires already burning by giving the country a new fireproof direction." My list was an illustration of those who many of us THOUGHT WOULD BE, OR WERE, THE FIREMEN TO DATE - but as it turns out, they HAVEN'T BEEN AND ARE NOT. Rather, they have, along with those who set the house afire in the first place, helped to "preserve the failed house" - Sen. Obama included. We are saying the same things - you just said it more clearly. Hey! I'm working on being a better writer with the ability to clearly and succinctly express my thoughts so they are easily understood. Comments help me tremendously in figuring out how to do that. Thanks! I'm posting your comment on the blog to clarify my point for the one or two people who've read it.