King’s Legacy for Health

Let’s keep the record straight on Martin Luther King’s warning to us: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

 Perhaps that warning was too strong for people who think otherwise. The fact that a pentagon official would attempt to twist King’s sentiments makes many of us wonder just who did silence Dr. King.

 We still have kinks to be worked out to provide our nation with health care reasonably. However, it does seem a bit out of kilter to be keeping a lid on how much we are willing to spend for health care, but leaving the lid almost totally off of defense spending. What does this say about our priorities as a nation? Whose quality of life do we value?

 Fifty years ago, President Eisenhower warned against military spending that creates a deficit, and he kept the lid on. Dr. King simply clarified needed priorities.

 In the time since, we have grown steadily passive about the lifestyle changes that continue to bring us ill health. Restaurants can serve us more food than we need, and at higher prices than many can afford, without increasing their wait staff. They simply increase their profits. This practice does not create more jobs; it just raises health care expenses to treat the conditions caused by overeating, or generally over consuming the things that keep us out of balance.

 It takes some planning now to find fertile seeds for our gardens. With genetically modified sterile seed dominating the market, we don’t have the option of saving seed each year for the next crop. It was once a simple matter to add natural amendments to the soil and grow healthy, strong plants that resisted disease naturally. Today, that practice is challenged and along with it, our health. Instead of creating jobs, this practice is putting farmers out of business, and threatening the diversity of our plant life, while creating wealth for GMO corporations.

 Food for thought: Dr. King encouraged us to figure out ways to get along together, that “returning violence for violence multiplies violence,” and “an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind.” Are we willing to take the time to figure out how to care for each other and keep each other well?

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