In Why We Can't Wait, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. writes, "So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be." This is startling if we only think of extremists in the negative sense; however, if we look in the opposite direction, we will discover the full meaning of his words. Some definitions for “extreme” are: (a) of a character farthest removed from the ordinary; (b) exceeding the bounds of moderation; and (c) farthest, utmost, or very far in any direction. These definitions appear negative because they've been mostly used in negative contexts. This imbalance has caused us to forget there are good extremists. Dr. King embraced being an extremist himself and presented Jesus as another example. Anyone reading Jesus' teachings will quickly encounter extremes as high as Heaven is holy and as low as Hell is evil. Jesus commands love for neighbors as we love ourselves. This necessity continues. Sister Souljah identified it as the critical component in achieving a united state with our brothers and sisters. Her detailed description of love involves wanting for someone what we want for ourselves; and wanting it so much, we will give the other person what we have and do without because we'd rather suffer than see that person suffer. This noble thinking continues to receive the same fate Jesus' teachings received. It is immediately stamped as negative extremism. On the opening page of No Disrespect, Sister Souljah confirms this sweeping treatment. "So everything I believe is said to be extreme." This is exactly the response President Obama's second inaugural address is receiving from Sadducee-like thinkers. They claim the President's insistence on pursuing equality is aggressive, divisive and too liberal, i.e., too fair. The Republicans claim the President's agenda is not designed to bring the nation together even though inclusiveness and equality are cornerstones of the U. S. Constitution which was established “in order to form a more perfect union.” If returning to the ideas of the Constitution won't bring us together then we must start with harmony and Plan A instead. It is being said President Obama is overreaching trying to address so many goals. In other words he is shooting for twinkling stars when he should be shooting for dissipating fog. In the meantime Constitutionalized goals don't match institutionalized results. For this God Blessed America, many voters want the President to lower his standards below those of the Constitution so they don't have to adjust to decency. Positive extremism is not just for public figures. If we consider ourselves civilized we must be extremists for love. Extremes such as discrimination, excuse, lie, confusion, hoarding, starvation, limitation and the unnatural must be met with the full force of justice, responsibility, truth, harmony, sharing, nutrition, possibility and the natural. The pursuit of happiness is the pursuit of positive extremes. Until we pursue them individually and collectively, we can't come anywhere near meaningful change. We can't evolve. We will stay stuck being social without the social benefits. We were born to be extremists. It is our duty and job. In order to answer Dr. King's question we must use introspection to help us decide between being an extremist for hate or an extremist for love. Being extreme fulfills dreams. Will we be worthy of the eulogy Dr. King wanted? Will someone say we tried to love and serve humanity? So far, this cannot be said for the nation. Notes:
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Why We Can't Wait, (Mentor), p. 88. King, p. 88. Matthew 22:39. Sister Souljah, Oral Discourse on Relationships (University of Illinois, February 17, 1996) Sister Souljah, No Disrespect,(New York: Vintage Books, 1996), p. ix. King, p. 88.
"Free and critical minds can emerge only by a return to the source-the primary sources. A free and critical mind takes nothing for granted and is not intimidated by "authorities" who frequently may be more confused than the general public. Free and critical minds seek truth without chauvinism or shame." - Dr. Asa G. Hilliard III (1)