April 4, 2017 is the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech. We would be wise, in light of the current state of our nation and the world, to hear yet again these prophetic words. Sadly, Dr. King’s words are still eerily relevant today.
“Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments.”
King ties peaceful change on a global scale to our American lifestyle, which is made possible by our nation’s inexhaustable hunger for the world’s resources. In other words, if there is to be world peace, then we must reliquish our hold on our “privileges and pleasures” which inevitably lead to war and conflict as we strive to protect them. King goes on to say:
“I am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values.”
“We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”
These words are a reminder to me in this era of the “internet of things” that I too can place a higher value on things rather than people. Such a reflection begs the question:
How can I on a daily basis begin to shift my focus from things to people?
Then and only then will I be able to fully join the peaceful revolution that Dr. King so eloquently still calls us to today.