Reagan Patrick is taking her third course with me, Comparative Religion and Culture. She recently spent some time with Dr. Martin Luther King’s April 4, 1967 speech on Vietnam and wrote the following reflection.
After listening to this speech, I found it strange how this is my very first-time hearing anything about Dr. King giving this speech. Being from Memphis I’ve learned about Dr. King from kindergarten to the day I graduated high school; but this speech has never had the spotlight. We all know Dr. King for being the one to start the Civil Rights Movement, and to be a huge public figure. He’s someone who didn’t hold back on how he felt, so this speech is something that I’m not surprised about.
I think the whole point of the speech was to get the people to see that the country was choosing to put the people last. It didn’t matter the race or the gender of the people, it was just the fact that the country chose to take away the poverty program to put money towards guns, and its military. He didn’t see that as something that was right.
Many thought that this speech was a bad idea by Dr. King. They thought he should just stick to what he had been doing, and not confuse people. And this exact thinking is still being shown today. This speech made me think about a lot of things going on in our world today. There have been so many athletes standing up for what they believe in lately, but yet they’re being told to stick to sports. Just like some people wanted Dr. King to stick to the Civil Rights Movement and not mix that with the anti-war movement.
Just like Dr. King, these athletes have a huge platform that can be used for more than what they set out to use it for.
Also having listening to this speech, it shows that the world really didn’t listen to him, or take into consideration what he was saying. One quote that stood with me was “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 . . . A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death”. Today President Trump’s first budget blueprint was to increase defense spending and cut some of the programs serving the poor. He did the opposite of what Dr. King was suggesting, the nation is going to let him do the opposite of what Dr. King was suggesting and the people are the ones who are going to suffer from these decisions. When the nation decides to put the people first, is when the nation will most likely become a better place.
You are exactly right Reagan. It’s very sad to think about and know that there has been so little progress of the heart in this country. As disappointed
as I am, God has to be more disappointed than I ever could be, in the lack of love and compassion we show toward our fellow man.