Last Friday, we observed the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. It's a somber occasion to remind us of a great loss, but also an opportunity to look at what King was doing in his last days. I want to mainly give credit to another blogger, digby, and ask you to read his blog from Friday, which deals with MLK's speeches near the end of his life. My thanks to Mike Groh who turned me on to this excellent piece. In closing, I would simply like to print an excerpt from a speech against the war in Vietnam, delivered exactly a year earlier, which closes digby's blog post. Jeez, you think they might be relevant today?
These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression and out of the wombs of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. "The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light." We in the West must support these revolutions. It is a sad fact that, because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has the revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgment against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores and thereby speed the day when "every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain."