15 January 2012


“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”  — Martin Luther King, Jr.

TO THOSE OF YOU WHO KNOW MY WORK, it’s common knowledge that I admire Martin Luther King, Jr. immensely. He was front-and-center in my documentary on race relations called THE WAR WITHIN and was the driving force behind my comparative analysis of the Civil Rights movement and the Health Freedom movement in my 1993 film LET TRUTH BE THE BIAS, which was narrated by James Earl Jones. In 2005 he was featured again in my documentary WE BECOME SILENT, a film about "Free Trade," multinational corporations, and something called "Codex Alimentarius." That film, produced in mere months, was narrated by the internationally revered actress, Dame Judi Dench.

As it happens so often with artists, the title for WE BECOME SILENT came as an inspiration in the middle of the night. It was 3:00 a.m., I believe, and I was in the midst of 17-20 hour days. I was determined to produce an honest film about the dangers of Codex and the deleterious effects of “free trade.” As I began to doze deeper into my well-earned slumber, I heard Dr. King’s voice say, “Our lives begin to end the moment we become silent about things that matter.” 

Spaced out and disoriented, I sat straight up in bed. The words I heard the strongest were "we become silent," and a few hours later, well, after at least one cup of coffee, I discerned that these three words would make a great title for the film. After all, they had been whispered to me in the middle of the night by the most powerful speaker in American history, and "we become silent" seamlessly correlated to the scheming of governments, big business, bureaucrats and other dirty dealers who incessantly try to assert their will over the rest of us. Their collective goal, of course, is to eliminate medical freedom of choice and to keep the status quo in tact. Then — as now — they want us to simply shut up. 

With the FDA ‘walking point,’ they have tried mightily to achieve their monopolistic goals through regulations, by banning health books from health food stores, through ridiculous undercover sting operations, the falsification of scientific research, and worst of all, through guns-draw raids at holistic clinics and even health food stores. 

This is not America.

So once again — in the middle of the night — Dr. King played a pivotal role in my professional and personal life. His moral clarity helped align my values and put the struggle for medical freedom of choice into perspective. Oh, and by the way, since people love the title WE BECOME SILENT, it is only fitting to give credit where credit is due.

I am reminded of something that occurred during a screening of LET TRUTH BE THE BIAS in 1994. There’s a scene in the documentary where hordes of armed policemen—with batons at the ready and with the strength of a football team pushing a blocking ‘sled’ — thrust dozens of African Americans backwards. Elderly men, women and children are forced to the ground—and are trampled in the ensuing melee. While this scene was playing out, I heard someone comment rather loudly, “Hey, this guy must be a liberal” — as if showing the struggle for basic human rights was somehow a liberal issue.

Today, we should all humbly acknowledge that there is much more work to do. 

As a humanistic writer, I have often been compelled to take the path less traveled — to follow my innate sense of right and wrong. As one who vividly recalls the assassination of Dr. King in 1968, I can attest that many of the ideals he put forth during his short time on this planet are indelibly branded into my heart and soul. 

We should all honor Dr. King for blazing a peaceful trail to positive change. We can learn from not only his courage in challenging injustices, but from his unyielding vision of fairness and equality. “Life's most persistent and urgent question,” said Dr. King, “is, 'What are you doing for others?'”

Amen, Reverend Dr. King. Amen. 

Your words are an inspiration — on any day.

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