January 16, 2012
The Moral Leader of Our Nation: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Law of the Land
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., (January 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968) would have been 83 on Jan. 15, 2012. Unfortunately his birthday has been turned into a three-day weekend by being recognized as a federal holiday observed on the third Monday of January each year. He deserves better. No person has has as much lasting impact on this long ago adolescent who was living in a 99.9% white suburban town outside of Chicago in the early 1960s as MLK did and still does.
King remains the moral leader of our country. If alive today, I believe he would be demanding equitable treatment of all people living in the US regardless of nationality, sexual orientation, color, economic status, physical or mental disability or legal status as defined by ICE. He would be insisting that hunger in America is a crime committed by our government, that heath care is a human right, that war crime charges against the US government be prosecuted to the fullest extent of international law including those international conventions the US conveniently does not recognition under an all too human notion of national sovereignty.
Dr. King would be preaching that Justice with a capital "J" can be realized in the American legal system. And, if alive today, he would still be arousing the conscience of the nation to achieve the dream by overcoming the obstacles of injustice to reach the mountain top. [JH]
"I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law. " -- Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"I Have a Dream" speech delivered at the March on Washington, DC on August 28, 1963.
"I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech delivered April 3, 1968 (the day before Dr. King was murdered).