Government, POLITICS

“What Would MLK Say If He Were Here Today?”

As we continue to celebrate the life and achievement of Martin Luther King Jr. and Black History month this year, we would do well to reflect on Dr. King’s take on the current events of the day.

History does repeat itself and today, we can see that Dr. King faced many of the same issues we contend and wrestle with currently. Ever the philosopher, Dr. King thought long and hard on said issues and recorded his thoughts for posterity.

On the issue of war (Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran,…)

“I knew that I could never raise my voice against violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world – my own government”

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social upliftment is approaching spiritual death”

Black history“They applauded us when we non-violently decided to sit in at lunch counters. They applauded us on the Freedom Rides when we accepted blows without retaliation

“There’s something strangely inconsistent about a nation and a press that will praise you when you say. ‘Be non-violent {segregationist sheriff} Jim Clark’ but will damn you when you say, ‘Be non-violent toward little brown children.’ There’s something wrong with the press.”

“I speak against this war, not in anger, but with anxiety and sorrow in my heart, and, above all, with a passionate desire to see our beloved country stand as a moral example of the world.”

“We must find an alternative to war. In a day when…guided ballistic missiles carve highways of death through the stratosphere and napalm flames destroy God’s green earth and his children, no nation can claim victory in war.”

On the issue of rioting in Ferguson (and elsewhere)

“…a riot is the language of the unheard. And what America has failed to hear – it has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last twenty years, that the promises of justice and equality have not been met, and that large segments of whit society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.”

On the issue of police brutality

“We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.”

On the issue of racism and equality

“We want ALL our rights, we want them here. And we want them now.

On the issue of poverty and equal wages

“What does it profit a man to be able to have access to any integrated lunch counter when he doesn’t earn enough to take his wife out to dinner? What does it profit a man to have access to the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities and not earn enough to take a vacation?”

“The lives, the incomes, the well-being of poor people every wherein America are plundered by our economic system”

It appears the issues we faced 50 to 60 (even 100 to 200) years ago aren’t very different from the issues we face today. We need to study our history to avoid falling victim to some of the pitfalls of the past. Martin Luther King, ever the visionary and the thinker pondered and experimented with many solutions, now we only need to continue where he and others like him left off, so we won’t repeat the errors of the past.

Oster Bryan, Readers Bureau, Contributor

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