Originally published on January 16, 2016
Today is Martin Luther King day in the United States, a national holiday. It is a good moment to remember the man, his message, and his life of passion dedicated to securing human rights and social justice through non-violent means. He followed in the steps of Mohatma Ghandi, and was followed by such leaders as Nelson Mandela.
To honor Dr. King, we should take a good hard look at the United States and the policies of its government both at home and abroad, and analyze them the way Dr. King might have. And understanding the way Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. might have seen American policies and actions at home and in the world today, we should pick up the torch of freedom and march with passion, as he would have, toward the further realization of his dream–and ours.
See (click on the date to go to the article):
(1) “A time to break silence’: Dr. King on the Vietnam war, and President Carter on America’s human rights violations,”The Trenchant Observer, June 27, 2012 (revised June 29).
(2) “Reflections on the struggle for justice and the rule of law: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President Barack Obama, and President Jimmy Carter,” The Trenchant Observer, January 15, 2013.
(3) “More on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Barack Obama,” The Trenchant Observer, January 18, 2013.
It is fitting to repeat today what we said in (2) above on January 15, 2013:
That so much of King’s dream has been accomplished, in 50 years, is cause for celebration, and also cause for a rededication of efforts to achieve that part of his dream which has not been realized with, in a phrase used elsewhere in the speech, “the fierce urgency of now”.
Yet we must also recall that Martin Luther King, Jr. did not represent African-Americans alone. He also represented white people, and others. He drew on the non-violent tradition and spiritual force of Gandhi, who helped inspire South Africans early in the 20th century, and later to liberate the subcontinent of India from British rule. King’s own message and moral example also inspired others, most notably Nelson Mandela of South Africa, who shared a similar dream and acted effectively to bring it about.
On January 21, 2013, we must also acknowledge that Martin Luther King, Jr. was the moral hero of millions of white men and women in the United States, as well as in Europe, and of many millions of men and women of other ethnicities throughout the world. He does not belong to African-Americans alone. Indeed, he belongs not only to all Americans, but to all of humanity, to “all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics.”
By 1967, when he spoke out against the war in Vietnam, if not long before, King made it clear that “all of God’s children” were not limited to those who lived in the United States.
If he were alive today, there can be little doubt that Martin Luther King, Jr. would be an ardent supporter of the struggle for human rights and democracy throughout the world.
The Trenchant Observer