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Beyond the "Dream": The Wisdom of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Speaking to the Challenges of Our Times

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"I have a dream ..."

Every year at this time, that stirring phrase with the hopes for racial harmony that followed is repeated time and again, in reports on the heroic life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose birth we celebrate today.

However, there was much more than even that noble sentiment to the Nobel Prize-winning message of this truly great man. (And no, I do not use the word "great" lightly; for although Dr. King did have his well-publicized flaws, as have men from Ben Franklin to Bill Clinton, those are the inevitable manifestations of the weaknesses that each of us descendants from Cain is heir to: What is truly, remarkably great is the ability of mere mortals to ever express and effectively promote selfless, timeless ideals in an all-too-selfish, sinful world.)

Read here, if you will, some of the wisdom so eloquently written and spoken by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which speaks to the heart, mind, and soul of our nation and to the very issues that confront us in our time.

We may never know another like Dr. King; we should be thankful to have ever been blessed with his inspiring presence and lasting legacy.

Dr. King on Justice

(When reading these quotes, my fellow Progressives, remember the current nomination to the Supreme Court of a champion of the Regressives, who has consistently sided with the powerful, against the interests of those less influential in the workplace, the environment, the courtroom, and the bedroom.)

"Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love."

"I am not interested in power for power's sake; but I'm interested in power that is moral, that is right, and that is good."

"Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress."

"A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law."

"The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority."

"The Negro's great stumbling block in the drive toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice."

"Success, recognition, and conformity are the bywords of the modern world where everyone seems to crave the anesthetizing security of being identified with the majority."

"The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace, and brotherhood."

"The question is not whether we will be extremist but what kind of extremist will we be. Will we be extremists for hate or will we be extremists for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice, or will we be extremists for the cause of justice?"

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Doug Drenkow is a writer, editor, webmaster, and producer. A fourth-generation Democrat, Doug has produced the political talk shows "Barry Gordon From Left Field," on radio, and "NewsRap with Barry Gordon," on cable TV, featuring top (more...)

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