NOTE: Technical problems prevented this blog from being published on Martin Luther King Day.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” — the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Each Martin Luther King Day, I post his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Scribbled on scraps of paper in an Alabama jail cell on April 16, 1963, it is often overshadowed by Dr. King’s soaring “I Have a Dream” speech, but the letter is the foundation on which that speech was built.
Here, Dr, King clearly, concisely and calmly lays out his case for the urgency of his cause, which should be the cause of every citizen in a nation that claims devotion to “liberty and justice for all.” On paper, Dr. King was jailed for “parading without a permit.” The charge may as well have been “exercising constitutional rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of speech while Black.” Despite all the evil done to him, Dr. King rejected violence and accepted imprisonment as a consequence of civil disobedience — even when breaking bad laws.
Contrast Dr. King’s peaceful, righteous and necessary protest with the domestic terrorist attack on the Capitol incited by the most selfish, cynical and dishonest president in American history. Dr. King accepted imprisonment as a necessary consequence of his actions. The violent, treasonous mob that attacked the Capitol expect amnesty for a direct, defiant attack on democracy, a free pass for spitting in the face of freedoms Dr. King died to secure for all Americans.
On MLK Day, some of the instigators and enablers of the Trumpist travesty paid lip service to Dr. King’s legacy in transparently cynical attempts to appropriate his authenticity and integrity.
I hope one day to read their letters from jail.
Read Dr. King’s letter here, and remember his faith, hope and sacrifice when the seams of our shared garment of destiny are stretched to the breaking point. Justice demands it.