"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice." Martin Luther King, Jr., said that*, but you're going to hear presidential candidate Obama repeat it more than a few times over the next year. You'll also hear him say that it doesn't bend itself. Undeniably true, and the reason why days like yesterday are important. Sure, Martin Luther King Day is a fantastic opportunity to reacquaint yourself with a Nintendo habit--the Hunter watched a dizzying amount of 24--but, at the risk of eye roll-inducing earnestness, it's also a call for reflection. How much pressure are you applying to the arc? Do the times call for more? How much more? And how much more are you willing to stomach before the sacrifices
become too great?
Easy questions they're not, and the Hunter won't pretend to answer them for you. But it's worth revisiting Dr. King to help answer them for yourself. There are scores of speeches to choose from--many
YouTube-able--but the one provided below is a favorite. Dr. King gave it at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1967, almost a year before his death, and it marks a significant departure from his oratories of only a few years earlier. He'd expanded his scope by now, finding injustice not just in the diners and drinking fountains of the South, but in our Vietnam war policy and in a national value system that championed the material over the lasting, the sectional over the ecumenical. The speech is proof
that Dr. King was moving towards becoming a different sort of man--not as immediately palatable to most Americans, but bolder, with a wider ranging message. He was acting like a man who didn't accept the narrow mandate of Racial Leader, but wanted to address ills far beyond the ones he had
initially set out to heal. There's no telling what he could've done in a natural lifetime, if his new messages would've took, or if he would've been shuffled aside and snickered at as a man who had outlived his time.
We're poorer for that. But we still have his words, and if you have 20 minutes in the next few days, give this a watch:
*King actually cribbed the line from Theodore Parker, the Transcendentalist and Unitarian minister.