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Martin Luther King Jr. has made an enormous impact on promoting a peaceful and tolerating environment in the U.S. His efforts were recognized both at home where he was awarded Nobel Prize and abroad where his experience and knowledge are extensively cited and used. He opposed the use of violence from both protesters and the government preferring a word as his weapon, which proved to be quite effective. The motivation he gave the people around him inspired them to follow his steps and pursue their dream until it is fulfilled. The King’s teachings helped build the new identity and image of the people who were often unkindly treated. Equality and justice were among the key ideas he stood for during his civil rights activity and thought his life.
In his speeches, he also addressed controversial and urgent topics like the war in Vietnam and poverty opposing the policies that instigated it. ‘Freedom’ – the word that he often used had the central place in his speeches, life, and philosophy. He taught people how to pursue it and what it means for a person. Inspiring common people, he also addressed politicians who had the power to make fundamental changes because it was the majority he often defended. Many people believed he was or would become a politician since he had a great deal of charisma and built a solid image in society. However, he was more interested in being a religious person and becoming a preacher. Religion transcended his whole life and activities and, as he stated it was his “greatest commitment” (Warnock, 2013, para. 5).
Martin Luther King Jr. did not betray his affection to public speech until the day he died, murdered by a villain. The ideas he created, his sermons, speeches, and even his life became a legacy that still echoes in the present.
Martin Luther King Jr. and the Today’s Society
American history witnessed many people who fought in their own methods for creating a better world including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Bob Dylan, and many others. King can rightfully be called one of the most famous and influential people in the United States and stand in one line with those mentioned above. Together they all forged the spirit of today’s America. Many things that Martin Luther King Jr. stood for are urgent issues in the present-day U.S. and the modern world.
Freedom, equal opportunities for all, and justice are the key things that King promoted all his life, and they became the values that are still dominant in the minds of people around the world. However, these core attributes are preserved not in every corner of the earth. Many occasions of human rights violations happen globally. Terrorism has become a modern threat to civil society and its consequences direly affect the life and safety of civil society. Recent terrorist attacks in France, Belgium, Germany, and other European countries instigated anti-Islam protests and general hatred towards the Arab population. The 2016 Human Rights Watch report stated that there were several occasions of race-motivated crime in Germany (Human Rights Watch, 2016). There were also occasions of poor treatment of refugees from the Middle East. All this suggests that what Martin Luther King Jr. fought for, the world without pain, cannot be achieved yet.
Apart from campaigning for human rights, King also envisioned some modern trends that start to dominate the world. One of these issues is work automation. He wrote that if officials do not intervene in the process of labor distribution and job security the universal trend for robotization will leave hundreds and thousands of people unemployed (King, 2011). His words were truly visionary. It is no secret that today there is a great demand for programmers and developers while conventional hand labor becomes history. Houses can also be constructed via 3D printing with little human intervention. Therefore, the question of security of aged workers, and job creation in the car industry, construction, and other highly automated spheres of employment is urgent.
The guaranteed basic income was one of the ideas that King also supported. It seems to be introduced soon in the Scandinavian countries. It proposes that each citizen of the country is paid a fixed amount of money without any conditions. It is believed to eliminate poverty and create equal opportunities for everyone, which was the King’s dream. However, it requires a highly stable economy, a range of social, and financial policies to be launched and is still being debated around the world.
Martin Luther King Jr. devoted his life and work to addressing not only the problems of his time. He also left a great legacy in the form of his ideas and thoughts that can help modern people live in kindness and prosperity. However, the world today is far from perfect, and the universal freedoms he taught are not yet properly guaranteed in some parts of the world. That is why the current global society should once again review and reflect on them. King even anticipated some of the trends in the modern economy that influence our life like the dangers of work automation and basic income introduction. This gives one more reason to think that his ideas are timely.
Human Rights Watch. (2016). World Report 2016. Web.
King, M. L. Jr. (2011). All labor has dignity. M.K. Honey (Ed.). Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
Warnock, R. G. (2013). ‘A gift of love’: Martin Luther King’s sermons from strength to love. Huffington Post. Web.