In Support of Martin Luther King
Dr. Martin Luther King was a leader of vision. He stood up for civil rights at a time when the rights of a whole group of people were being trodden upon without any scruples. There was a segment of society against this injustice but the fact is, most of America supported the injustices in a way that had become unacceptable to the people.
Dr. Martin Luther King wrote in his essay, A Letter From Birmingham Jail, “…injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” (King, 1963) These words, at that point in time, were considered revolutionary but as the society today unfolds into a global world, his words ring truer than ever.
The American people today are living in a nation that is one of the most powerful in the world. It is a nation that leads others and directs them towards a way of life, towards a democratic future for all on the globe and in this role America has come to live out the legacy of Dr. King’s words.
King was, and is spouted as being a religious man by many and many disregard his speeches as emotional. However, when we focus on the words his phrases are not as emotional as they are common sense. Taking the example of the world society today consider the above phrase. We are fighting a war on terrorism a war so expansive that we cannot begin to realize its implications nor understand its borders-if there are any. This whole world scenario was started by one man, Usama bin Laden, a Taliban leader who ruled the terrain of Afghanistan for years.
For years Americans stood by as the man abused the right of men, women and children of Afghanistan. We stood by as he led others towards a maniacal mission, training them to stand against the concept of the West in his part of the world. Since he did not attack the US directly, we ignored him and his followers and stood by watching, as the nation of Afghanistan and its neighbors slowly got corrupted by his thoughts. Then 9/11 happened, a horrific moment that took place on the US soil and changed the course of a generation and the political course of the world. While we ignored injustice, the threat became a reality and attacked us. 9/11 gave weight to the words of Dr. King for when we ignore the injustice to others, we make ourselves a target by allowing the threat to grow out of control.
There is a popular story of the ‘Mouse Trap’. Where it originated from is unknown but its theme is similar to the theme of Dr. King, ignoring the injustice to others has a way of coming home to ourselves. The story of the mousetrap ends with the following words,
‘The next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn’t concern you, remember — when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk. We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage and help one another.’(Author Unknown, 2008)
In our society we see tens of injustices from children being gunned down in the street to the homeless sleeping in the cold street. We watched as Hurricane Katrina (CNN.com, 2006) changed the face of New Orleans and we saw thousands displaced from their homes. We watched it and did nothing until weeks after the event—or rather we did not do enough. Now, we are facing in different parts of the country natural disasters like Hurricane Ike, Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Fay. Disasters are no longer confined to one state they are spreading. Some may claim it to be a religious experience, maybe Dr. King would but I would treat it more as a philosophical knowledge or scientific fact. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, our apathy will cause some passionate response from somewhere so we must make the effort to face injustices, no matter where they happen, as if they are happening to us.
1. Author Unknown, The Mouse Trap. Motivational Story with Wisdom retrieved from http://www.wow4u.com/mousetrap/index.html on September 17, 2008.
2. CNN.com, Katrina response a ‘failure of leadership’ Tuesday, February 14, 2006 retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/02/13/katrina.congress/index.html on September 17, 2008.
3. King Jr. Martin Luther, Letter from Birmingham Jail, Apr. 16, 1963 in: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr., p. 289.