Dr. King's Legacy
A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies... True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.
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 Latin America and say: "This is not just."
The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands 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 veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields 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 approaching spiritual death.
Hmmm, not a ringing endorsement of American policy in Vietnam. Now before anyone gets the urge to insist that Vietnam was totally different, let us clarify. There was no doubt in the minds of those decision makers who went into Vietnam that it was a war of liberation and part of a larger global struggle. In Errol Morris' excellent documentary, The Fog of War, Robert S. McNamara says as much. But I digress... The salient point here is that Dr. King was very much an opponent of so-called wars of liberation prosecuted by global powers. His own words leave no doubt about that.