Some words of Martin Luther King…

I have said this before and I will iterate it now: Martin Luther King Jr. is a man I admire and consider a hero… I came to this realization late… just last year… after I had been reading some of his words and thoughts… thoughts not only about the struggle for civil rights, specifically as regards the black person, but as regards all facets of people’s lives and about all ethnic groups.  It was then, as I read his thoughts that I came to realize what I had become, and, what he was, were in fact a shared philosophy and ideology. But, it was much more than just a belief in the qualitative thinking that all men are somehow born into this world equally… that is, they are born into this world and should have the same chance to excel in it as any other person that exists or will exist. Which, in fact, is not a fact at all… regardless of what some groups of people may say. I realized his thinking about politics, economics, labor, and society… men’s existence as sociological beings who struggle to make life mean more than merely existing… mirrored mine. I saw for the first time… or should I say I fully realized for the first time… that he was much more than a man of the cloth who fought for civil rights using nonviolent means. He was a man for all seasons who wanted justice, peace and economic equality which meant access to all those things that enable a person to fully experience himself as a human being in his most exponentially fulfilling manner as he possibly can… to be healthy, to be meaningfully employed and to be free to pursue the inalienable rights of life, liberty and happiness.

He spoke eloquently to inspire a movement to demand their rights to be free; to take what was to that point held from them by a stagnant and ignorant status quo so that they could stand and be something that until that time had been denied… a chance to be… an opportunity to try for the pinnacle of success no matter what…  “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

I give you now on the day we set aside to celebrate his being on this planet the phrases that capture who I believe the man was.  Some who read these words will nod in agreement. Some who read these words will frown in disapproval or even be a tad angry.  But, whatever the words do, I hope they will stir an emotion within you and make you think…

I do think they open the door to some creative stuff that still needs to be talked about as well achieved.

Therefore these are some of Martin Luther King Jrs’ words, that I see as the epitome of what the man was, what he believed in and what he wanted for us to achieve…

MLK 8“All this is simply to say that all life is interrelated. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality; tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. As long as there is poverty in this world, no man can be totally rich even if he has a billion dollars. As long as diseases are rampant and millions of people cannot expect to live more than twenty or thirty years, no man can be totally healthy, even if he just got a clean bill of health from the finest clinic in America. Strangely enough, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.”

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“We should never forget that everything Adolph Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany.”

 

“[If] a man doesn’t have a job or an income, he has neither life nor liberty nor the possibility for the pursuit of happiness. He merely exists.”

 

“We all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free market capitalism for the poor.”

 

“No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d die for.”

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“What I’m saying to you this morning is that Communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social, and the Kingdom of Brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of Communism nor the antithesis of capitalism but in a higher synthesis.”

 

“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”

 

MLK Jr 5“Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shore, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the sixteenth century forward, blood flowed in battles over racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or feel remorse for this shameful episode. Our literature, our films, our drama, our folklore all exalt it. Our children are still taught to respect the violence which reduced a red-skinned people of an earlier culture into a few fragmented groups herded into impoverished reservations.”

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“And one day we must ask the question, “Why are there forty million poor people in America?” And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy.”

 

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.”

 

“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

 

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”

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“I look forward confidently to the day when all who work for a living will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians or any other distinctions. This will be the day when we bring into full realization the American dream — a dream yet unfulfilled.”

 

And, the last one reveals the man’s keen insight to what it was all about and his sense to wryly understand himself and his goal…

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