There will be many tomorrow–politicians, academics, pundits, clergy–who will reference King’s “Dream” speech. Far fewer will likely cite passages from his April 1967 address at Riverside Baptist Church, but it’s the speech every person of conscience should reference, particularly in this age of a global, endless “war on terror”. Then, King was speaking about Vietnam…but his words and his warning are just as prophetic 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. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin…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.