Excerpt from the Vietnam Speech by Martin Luther King Jr.
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 investment.
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 to 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.
Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores and thereby speed the day when 'every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain.'
Let us hope that this spirit (of love) will become the order of the day. We can no longer afford to worship the God of Hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate.
And if we will only make the right choice we will be able to transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of peace. If we will make the right choice we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. If we will but make the right choice we will be able to speed up the day all over America and all over the world when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.