Martin Luther King could never be president. Not because of racist attitudes of America in the 1960s (those haven’t changed all that much), but because he was an enemy of the state, not its benign friend– not a smiling visage on a t-shirt, or a McDonald’s advertisement. We ought to be careful to whom we compare this man, who never hesitated to call out the injustice at the heart of American existence.
This is a man who neither extolled the inherent “greatness” of America, nor tried to “restore” America to a pristine past, which never existed. This was a man who set out with a clear motto: to “Save the soul of America” from itself. He was certainly never silent in the face of wanton destruction of life.
The war in Vietnam is a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality… we will find ourselves organizing “clergy and laymen concerned” committees for the next generation… We will be marching for [Guatemala and Peru, Thailand and Cambodia, Mozambique and South Africa] and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end, unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy.