Since the Martin Luther King holiday last week, I’ve been musing over something Socrates said during his trial: “He who would really fight for justice, must do so as a private man, not in public, if he means to preserve his life, even for a short time.” If true, Socrates’ words mean Martin Luther King would have been assassinated even sooner had he been a public man, a politician, espousing the same views. In every age, men and women, public and private, have been rewarded with premature death for fighting for justice: Guevara, Lumumba, Gandhi, Nat Turner, Joan of Arc and, of course, Socrates himself.
"In the days ahead we must not consider it unpatriotic to raise certain basic questions about our national character. We must begin to ask, 'Why are there forty million poor people in a nation overflowing with such unbelievable affluence? Why has our nation placed itself in the position of being God's military agent on earth...? Why have we substituted the arrogant undertaking of policing the whole world for the high task of putting our own house in order?'" —Martin Luther King
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