In his grave, we praise him for his decency


“In his grave, we praise him for his decency -
but when he walked amongst us,
we responded with no decency of our own.

When he suggested that all men
should have a place in the sun -
we put a special sanctity on the right
of ownership and the privilege of prejudice
by maintaining that to deny homes to Negroes
was a democratic right.

Now we acknowledge his compassion -
but we exercised no compassion of our own.
When he asked us to understand
that men take to the streets out of
anguish and hopelessness and
a vision of that dream dying,

we bought guns and speculated
about roving agitators and
subversive conspiracies and

demanded law and order.

We felt anger at the effects,
but did little to acknowledge the causes.
We extol all the virtues of the man -
but we chose not to call them virtues before his death.

And now, belatedly, we talk of this man's worth -
but the judgement comes late in the day
as part of a eulogy when it should have been made
a matter of record
while he existed as a living force.

If we are to lend credence to our mourning,
there are acknowledgements that must be made now,
albeit belatedly.

We must act on the altogether proper assumption
that Martin Luther King asked for nothing
but that which was his due...

He asked only for equality,
and it is that which we denied him.

[excerpt from a letter to The Los Angeles Times in response to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.; April 8, 1968”

? Rod Serling

© 2016 3D Divine Deadbeat Dad---Alleged - 1/16/16

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