The Power of Words

Here is a poem I wrote back in 2007. One person told me it wasn’t a poem, it was a Civics lesson. So be it. I wrote it after teaching a Civics class one day. Another person said that it was too preachy, that in fact, it wasn’t so much a poem as just me sermonizing. So be it. I’ve always felt that Doctor King’s sermons were very poetic, and since its my own poem, I reserve the prerogative to preach from it.

 

The Power of Words 

Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior wrote that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” in 1963.

Just last week Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan said that “A terrorist attack on any of us is an attack on all of us.”

I shared both quotes with my Civics class, but one eighth grader wrote on the board under Dr. King’s words that  “no one gets this.” I asked if they’d like me to discuss it with them and the same student said, “no, we don’t care either.”

That made me thing of Jimmy Buffett’s famous line, “Is it ignorance, or apathy? I don’t know and I don’t care.”

I care, God knows I care, but God only knows how I’m supposed to teach eighth graders how to care.

So I took King’s words,

Injustice ANYWHERE is a threat to Justice EVERYWHERE

and I paired them with James Madison’s words-

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

 
[Disunity] ANYWHERE is a threat to [Unity] EVERYWHERE
 
[Turmoil] ANYWHERE is a threat to [Tranquility] EVERYWHERE
 
[Insecurity] ANYWHERE is a threat to [Security] EVERYWHERE
 
Or would that have sounded better with [Offense] ANYWHERE is a threat to [Defense] EVERYWHERE?
 
[Suffering] ANYWHERE is a threat to [the General Welfare] EVERYWHERE!
 
Now THERE’S one that probably makes “rugged individualists” absolutely cringe, but AREN’T I my brother’s keeper?
 
And of course,
 
[Tyranny] ANYWHERE is a threat to [Liberty] EVERYWHERE
 
So isn’t it true?
 
Don’t you CARE?
 
Don’t you realize? Don’t you know?
 
That “Injustice ANYWHERE is a threat to Justice EVERYWHERE!”
 
Is justice really blind?
 
Have you ever heard, “No Justice, No Peace!”?
 
Did you know, what Cornell West says?
 
He says that “Justice is what love looks like in public.”
 
Merrium and Webster say that “public” means 
 
“exposed to general view : 
open, well-known, prominentc : 
perceptible, material…”
 
and 
 
“of, relating to, or affecting ALL the people.”
 
Did you know?
 
Do you care?
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” 

Amos 5:24

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