As we devolve into our texty, Twittery modes of 21st century communication, the eloquence of Martin Luther King stands out in strong relief. One of America’s greatest orators, (a word we don’t use anymore) it’s difficult to comprehend all that he said, and did, in just 39 years, up until his assassination.
King’s message of non-violence, peace and equality is needed more than ever. His incomparable “I Have a Dream” speech is completely fundamental to the man, and our history, like Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.”
Like Lincoln, King said thoughtful, if less known, things all the time. Let’s reflect on the truth of his words today, and, as King urges, try to rise above our individualistic concerns.
•”A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
“And I must confess, my friends, that the road ahead will not always be smooth. There will still be rocky places of frustration and meandering points of bewilderment. There will be inevitable setbacks here and there. And there will be those moments when the buoyancy of hope will be transformed into the fatigue of despair. (Well) Our dreams will sometimes be shattered and our ethereal hopes blasted.”
“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”
“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
“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.”
“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.”
“Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”