MLK and the Importance of Principles

As we take an opportunity today to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we wanted to share this quote of his, which offers an important lesson in our fight for democracy.

Yes, Dr. King’s words are about love and hate. But there is a deeper meaning as well. this quote is a call, above all else, to not lose our ‘selves’ in the fight.

There is a temptation, when faced with long odds or difficult obstacles, to embrace the tactics or ideals of your opposition – to fight ‘fire with fire’. The frustration of a hard fight can make us lose our moorings in the principles which we hope to advance. But Dr. King’s message is a reminder that you cannot win if you become that which you oppose.

Just like darkness, vices are strengthened by addition. Hatred becomes stronger when we join in hating. If, in our work to strengthen American democracy, we embrace undemocratic tactics against our opposition, the net effect is the weakening of democracy. That’s why we have to be firmly rooted in our principles, and never abandon them for convenience or advantage.

We can’t restore democracy by embracing undemocratic tactics. We cannot pursue justice by ignoring due process. Freedom cannot be won through oppression. Truth will never be served by a convenient lie.

If we are to renew America, we can only do so by remaining true to our principles.

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