I often go back and read the speech he gave back on April 3, 1968...the speech known by most as "I've Been To The Mountaintop"...in support of sanitation workers on strike in Memphis, Tennessee.
Dr. King was shot and killed on the balcony of his hotel the next day.
Back to the speech...it's amazing how timeless MLK's words are...how they can be about so much more than equality based on race...amazing how fitting they are today...MLK spoke of when he would like to be alive in history...
He says, "Strangely enough, I would turn to the Almighty, and say, 'If you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the twentieth century, I will be happy.' Now that's a strange statement to make, because the world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land. Confusion all around. That's a strange statement. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars. And I see God working in this period of the twentieth century in a away that men, in some strange way, are responding — something is happening in our world. The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, whether they are in Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana; New York City; Atlanta, Georgia; Jackson, Mississippi; or Memphis, Tennessee - the cry is always the same - 'We want to be free.'
And another reason that I'm happy to live in this period is that 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 demand 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."
Truer words never spoken...and, in my opinion, timeless, and able to be said today with as much meaning now as then, albeit under a different circumstance.
Dr. King also said, "All we say to America is, 'Be true to what you said on paper'. If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, 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 assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right."
Fitting words in today's tense and hostile political climate in America, don't you think?
He says, "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 America a better nation."
Those words - those very words - are why I want to run for office...to take on the challenge of making America what it ought to be.
But that's nothing I - or you - can do alone.
That's nothing the Right can do alone.
That's nothing the Left can do alone.
That's nothing a Tea Party Movement - ANY political movement - can do alone.
That's nothing a Red State or a Blue State can do alone.
America can be what it ought to be by compromise...
By reaching across the isle...
By saying "NO" to big government...
By saying "NO" to Political Action Committees, Special Interest Groups, big lobbying firms, and big corporations buying policy with donations to our elected officials' re-election campaigns, and our legislature as a whole...
America can be what it ought to be by saying "YES" to WE THE PEOPLE...
By saying "YES" to OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE...
And what better way to close, on this day, than with the greatest and most moving part of this MLK speech...no, not speech...dare I say, this MLK sermon...
"Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. 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."
MLK...1/15/29 - 4/4/68
And may your dreams
If the thundercloud
So let it rain
Rain down on him