I’ve Been to the Mountaintop
“……We have been forced to a point where we’re going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history, but the demands didn’t force them to do it. Survival demands that we grapple with them. Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world, it’s nonviolence or nonexistence.
That is where we are today. And also in the human rights revolutions, if something isn’t done, and in a hurry, to bring the colored peoples of the world out of their long years of poverty, their long years of hurt and neglect, the whole world is doomed.
……If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand some of these illegal injunctions. Maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn’t committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right. And so, just as I say, we aren’t going to let any dog or water hose turn us around. We aren’t going to let any injunction turn us around. We are going on.
…..Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge, to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make a better nation. And I want to thank God, once more, for allowing me to be here with you.
……I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountain top. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life; longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. And I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
He spoke these words hours before he died. While we all pause to ponder King’s legacy, let us think about the advances we’ve made as a nation that he missed.
If he had had a chance to live a long, natural life, he may have gotten to see the first African American be elected president of the United States,twice. He would have had a chance to witness this president appoint two women to the Supreme Court, another woman as Secretary of State, and come out for gays and children of immigrants. He would have had a chance to see more women and minorities elected to office this year than any other time in our history. And he would have had a chance to see thousands of delegates at the Democratic National Convention, smiling and cheering, of every color and shape.
We have come a long way since Dr. King died in 1968. But we still have a long, long way to go.
Racism and inequality is alive and well in America, as evidenced by the most recent attempts to stop blacks and other minority groups from voting.
The public was made aware of this in the past election, and several different groups worked tirelessly to stop states from interfering with voters’ rights, but many Americans passively ignored the media reports. There wasn’t much public outcry about it.
That’s a problem. The sixties were a time of great public unrest. People were much more engaged in their communities and politics. They took more risks. They weren’t as apathetic and lazy. More people stood for more things.
I want to see more people stand for more things. I want people to think deeply about Dr. King’s legacy. I want them to be inspired. I want them to get involved. I want them to stand for something.
If you are appalled that voter suppression is still going on, say so!
If you agree that racism and inequality is alive and well in America, say so!
If you are outraged by the comparisons of our sitting black president to monsters like Hitler or that he isn’t an American, say so!
If you are tired of the media not reporting crimes against minorities, say so!
If you have had it with the vitriolic hate speech on the radio and in the internet, say so!
If you are fed up with how indifferent so many people are to the sufferings of others in this country, then say so!!!!!
Don’t use this day to sleep in or lay around and watch TV. Do something.
“To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it”.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.