“Letter From Birmingham Jail” – A Response

I’m a Political Science major, and I hate politics.

Hate may not be a strong enough word. I literally despise the ridiculous power struggles within political campaigns. The constant coverage of misfortunes occurring all around the world. The false promises of instigating change. The eventual semblance of principles. And, the ultimate popularity contest. Politics creates division.

Political Science has made me pessimistic. I’ve learned about repeated historical mistakes, innocent casualties and ruthless tyranny. I’ve analyzed the roots of civil war, the tactics dictators use to maintain control and the inevitable violence that occurs within each country. Everything is ultimately a power struggle. It is thoroughly and sincerely depressing.

I also hear a lot about war.  I deliberately choose to use the word hear. I will never learn the necessity of a war. I will never learn to accept that human lives were lost to pursue governmental interest. I will never learn to discuss war apathetically. I refuse to learn that a world full of human beings is incapable of solving issues diplomatically. Violence is never the answer.

War is brutal. War is disappointing. War is destructive.

This is why I admire Martin Luther King Jr. so much.

Martin Luther King Jr. was tangled in a web of war. He was stuck in a hateful society determined to prevent justice. They battled with “vicious mobs [lynching] mothers and fathers at will and [drowning] sisters and brothers at whim; [and through] hate filled policemen cursing, kicking and even killing [their] black brothers and sisters…” (Martin Luther King Jr.).

Yet, despite all of the insufferable treatment, King emphasized the importance of nonviolent direct action in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” He never faltered. He fought fire with water. King had a passion for justice, and he lived his live in pursuit of the inalienable right he was denied. He put action behind his statements. There lies the rare power of truth in his words. King revealed his truthful character through his political practices. He defied the norm, and made history because of it. King gives me hope that change can be brought about through hard work and conviction. He reminds me of the progress we have made.

I have strong political opinions.

I’m a passionate person. I strongly believe in justice. Every human being deserves respect. Shelter, sustenance and healthcare are not privileges—they are undeniable rights. Poverty saddens me. Inefficiency infuriates me. The realities of inequality on this earth motivate me to make a difference.

That is precisely how I hope to live. I believe in purposeful protest. I wish to instigate change. The best way to do this is through education and the development of credibility. Knowledge is power.

This is why I am a political science major.

I may hate politics, but I believe there is a beauty in justice that can only be established through politics. I love the potentiality of politics. Politics is the key to justice. Reading “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” once again has reminded me of all the trivialities I can get caught up in. I feel grounded once more. It makes me realize that everything in life is a struggle. The Civil Rights Movement may have encountered aggressive hate, but it was ultimately triumphant. African Americans won their rights to freedom, integration and suffrage. Yet there is still progress to be made. After all, we just elected our first black president four years ago. Life is an ongoing struggle.

With this, I have a message. Dear world… Complain if it is just, but don’t just complain.

Even though I hate the insincerity of politics and the disappointing realities of human nature—I refuse to merely join the masses. I refuse to be just another complainer. I refuse to succumb to my disillusionment. I strongly believe that more people in our contemporary society need to look towards King’s example in their struggles for justice. It is human nature to dispute. That is the beauty of peace—it is always a struggle. Peace is the perfection of human nature.

I am passionate about living a life with purpose. I am confident that political science is the path I must take in order to pursue my dreams.

I’m a Political Science major, and I will use my knowledge to pursue justice.


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