The non-violent preachfest starts around 17:25
Channel surfing last night, I caught a bit in the Star Wars: Clone Wars cartoon ("Jedi Crash," posted above) that struck me as both absurd and relevant. Around minute 17;30, a chipmunk with an Irish accent starts channeling Martin Luther King. He engages in a debate about the morality of war with no less than a jedi knight. "It takes two to fight," he tells her. "Only when you lay your arms down and pursue a course of nonviolence can you make this claim to me that the Jedi are peacekeepers."
If you do nothing else for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, order The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. and throw it in your bathroom. King was a fascinating person, a great thinker, speaker, and doer. He thought outside the box and managed to translate a philosophy of "love thy enemy" into concrete political action. His clear ethical perspective would be of tremendous benefit today.
King had no illusions about man's capacity for cruelty. He considered it a moral obligation to fight evil. Like the chipmunk in the cartoon above, King was skeptical about the use of violence to achieve peace. Live by the sword, die by the sword. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
But what's a jedi without a lightsaber? How can we expect to win?
King would answer that non-violence does not mean non-action - it means vigorous activism. MLK believed mankind's best hope for survival was the power of love. His weapon of choice was non-cooperation. He organized sit-ins, marches, meetings, speeches, and boycotts, all with the objective of provoking the public's conscience. In Birmingham, he dispatched children in front of dogs and fire hoses to make his point.
Whatever you think about the wars that are going on right now - whether you believe they are justified or not - it is worth taking a moment and asking, What would Martin Luther King do? Are we, as non-military citizens, sufficiently involved in this struggle, or have we left it all to our soldiers and politicians? What can we do in our everyday lives to promote peace between nations? Are there tactics of non-violence available to us that might have overlooked?