Dr. King challenges “The world today demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands we admit that we have been wrong.” Wrong, as he says in 1965, in Vietnam, wrong in Iraq, wrong in Afghanistan, wrong in Lybia and, we might presume, wrong in our motions toward war in Syria and Iran. It demands we admit we have been detrimental to the lives of the peoples of these nations on which we inflict our wars for the wealthy. It demands we admit we have been wrong in spending over a trillion dollars on these wars, at the expense of programs to alleviate poverty and unemployment, to educate and provide good health at home.
Dr. King teaches, “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” Not only to the world community, but to our own intuitive sense of morality and justice. We can only apply apathy to our intuition, mute our morality and distract our sense of values with entertainment and television so long before these senses, like any loved ones whom we continually reject, will begin to repel themselves from us.
Democracy education should raise consciousness among young and old not only of our nation’s wars at home and abroad, but also of our own moral and ethical compass. It should challenge us to involve ourselves in organized efforts of community groups, faith based groups, political and civic groups, to do something daily to keep our conscience alive. Democracy Education should teach Dr. King’s calling, “America’s soul can never be saved, so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men and women the world over.” “Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movement and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.”