Remembering MLK 2007

by Chris Borgen

With the rush of so many events—the War in Iraq and the “surge,” Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia, the Sudan, the Global War on Terror, Guantanamo, you name it—I just wanted to pause for a minute in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As is the custom each year, the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC (online audio stream here) will have an on-air tribute to Dr. King made up of one minute readings by listeners. This year’s twist: the readings have to be about an ethnic group other than your own.

Some of my thoughts on MLK and a just world order are in this post. Roger wrote a piece about Dr. King and civil disobedience here.

Martin Luther King Jr. was an incredible and a complicated man who deserves to be understood and appreciated for more than being the one who said “I have a dream.” He was also a man who had tough words for our nation, some of which are especially poignant in this time of conflict:

A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

The pragmatist in me sets forth all the reasons why we are not approaching spiritual death. But then another part of me whispers that Dr. King knew that there is more to being human than being pragmatic.

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