Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? by Martin Luther King Jr.The non-violent, colorblind, “I have a dream” Martin Luther King is such a fixture in the American imagination that it is difficult for many to conceive of a King who was, particularly in the last years of his life, far more nuanced and complex. There have been several books over the last few years trying to reclaim the King who marched with striking sanitation workers, was a strident critic of the American war in Vietnam, and advocated for a guaranteed income for all citizens. While these books provide a valuable service, it is the words of King himself that bring these ideals to life. Written a year before his death, “Chaos or Community?”, King is very much still in favor of non-violent protest, but he is far more pessimistic about how quickly true equality can happen. While critical of separatism and the Black Power movement of the time as self defeating and unrealistic in a society where people of all colors are economically interdependent, he is highly critical of Whites who pay lip service to equality but when it comes to Black families moving into their neighborhoods, working along side of them, or marrying their sons and daughters, their enlightened attitudes quickly evaporate. All too often Whites feel like being supportive of equality is enough and that any failure on the part of Blacks to be successful is their own fault. It is the old “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” school of thought that those who can’t must be inherently lazy or not intelligent enough to do so. King writes with thinly veiled outrage that the roots of discrimination and disenfranchisement are so deep that nothing short of a massive financial and social investment on the part of Whites can repair the structural damage that slavery, broken families, inadequate education, employment and housing discrimination have wrought in the Black community.
This is King at his most radical (his argument that war is degrading to the human condition as well as advocating for the humanity of a universal income are well ahead of their time) and most forceful. He is not asking White people to dispense change at their leisure, he lays out what has gone wrong and what needs to be done immediately. Whenever I read King, I always wonder with more than a little melancholy what could have been had he lived a little longer. This book and its arguments for universal justice and human is perhaps the best example of that.
Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?
She later sings this song towards the end of the movie when she realizes that she must be herself in order for people to truly accept her, and when she is torn between her old lover, John Smith , and her new lover, John Rolfe. The earth is cold The fields are bare The branches fold against the wind that's everywhere The birds move on So they survive When snow's so deep The bears all sleep to keep themselves alive They do what they must for now And trust in their plan If I trust in mine, somehow I might find who I am Chorus: But where do I go from here? So many voices ringing in my ear Which is the voice that I was meant to hear? How will I know? Where do I go from here? My world has changed and so have I I've learned to choose And even learned to say goodbye The path ahead's so hard to see It winds and bends but where it ends Depends on only me In my heart I don't feel part of so much I've known Now it seems it's time to start A new life on my own Chorus: But where do I go from here? In some new place on some new face I've never seen I might find where I belong someday And there may even be another dream for me Waiting there somewhere along the way Who knows where I go from here?
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