Monday, January 16, 2006

For Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late
John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he
said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will
make violent revolution inevitable." Increasingly, by choice
or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role
of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing
to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the
immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that
if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we
as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We
must rapidly begin, we must rapidly begin the shift from a
thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When
machines and computers, profit motives and property rights,
are considered more important than people, the giant triplets
of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable
of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the
fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies.
On the one hand we are called to play the Good Samaritan on
life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we
must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be trans-
formed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten
and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True
compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes
see that an edifice which produces beggars needs

A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring
contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it
will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the
West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South
America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the
social betterment of the countries, and say, "This is not just."
It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South
America and say, "This is not just." The Western arrogance
of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing
learn from them is not just.

A true revolution of values will lay hand 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 the veins of peoples normally
humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battle-
fields 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 ap-
proaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world,
can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is
nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from re-
ordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take
precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep
us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands
until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

April 4, 1967