The other Martin Luther King
I think everyone should be entitled to at least one dumb moment per week. Mine was today. I forgot it was Martin Luther King day. I went to the post office to mail out some books. When I got to the foyer I saw that the lobby was closed. I thought, “Why would they take a break in the middle of the day without posting a sign? How rude!” A guy walked in and dropped some mail in the drop box. I asked the man, “Do you have any idea why the lobby is closed?” Just as he started to say, “Yeah, I do” I remembered…..Duh!!
For penance, I thought I’d post a reflection from Martin Luther King’s book Strength to Love. Everyone seems to know and agree with Dr. King’s famous words, “I have a dream that one day my four children will be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” This is the Martin Luther King that everyone knows and loves, including talk radio pundits like Hannity, Beck, and Limbaugh. Nowadays, it would be cultural/political suicide to dare to challenge King on these words, and rightly so. But how many people pay due attention to the “other” Martin Luther King?
The one that said these words:
“The universalism at the center of the Declaration of Independence have been shamefully negated by America’s appalling tendency to substitute ‘some’ for ‘all.’ Numerous people in the North and South still believe that the affirmation, ‘All men are created equal’ means ‘All white men are created equal.’ Our unswerving devotion to monopolistic capitalism makes us more concerned about the economic security of the captains of industry than for the laboring men whose sweat and skills keep industry functioning.
What are the devastating consequences of this narrow group-centered attitude? It means that one does not really mind what happens to the people outside his group. If an American is concerned only about his nation, he will not be concerned about the peoples of Asia, Africa, and South America. Is this not why nations engage in the madness of war without the slightest sense of penitence? Is this not why the murder of a citizen of your own nation is a crime, but the murder of the citizens of another nation in war is an act of heroic virtue? If manufacturers are concerned only in their personal interests, they will pass by on the other side while thousands of working people are stripped of their jobs and left displaced on some Jericho road as a result of automation, and they will judge every move toward a better distribution of wealth and a better life for the working man to be socialistic. If a white man is concerned only about his race, he will casually pass by the negro who has been robbed of his personhood, stripped of his sense of dignity, and left dying on some wayside road”
If anybody, I mean anybody, would say something similar to this today, I wonder what Glenn Beck would call him?