By Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
City Temple, London, England, December 7, 1964
Now I would like to mention one or two ideas that circulate in our society—and they probably circulate in your society and all over the world—that keep us from developing the kind of action programs necessary to get rid of discrimination and segregation. One is what I refer to as the myth of time. There are those individuals who argue that only time can solve the problem of racial injustice in the United States, in South Africa or anywhere else; you’ve got to wait on time. And I know they’ve said to us so often in the States and to our allies in the white community, “Just be nice and be patient and continue to pray, and in 100 or 200 years the problem will work itself out.” We have heard and we have lived with the myth of time. The only answer that I can give to that myth is that time is neutral. It can be used either constructively or destructively. And I must honestly say to you that I’m convinced that the forces of ill will have often used time much more effectively than the forces of goodwill. And we may have to repent in this generation, not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around saying, “Wait on time.”
And somewhere along the way it is necessary to see that human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals who are willing to be co-workers with God. And without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation. And so we must help time, and we must realize that the time is always ripe to do right. This is so vital, and this is so necessary.
Democracy Now! MLK Day Special: Rediscovered 1965 King Speech on Civil Rights, Segregation & Apartheid South Africa:
By Don McCanne, M.D.
And they are telling us, “We don’t have time for Medicare for All. We’ll be too busy trying to fine tune the Affordable Care Act.”
We don’t have time to enact and implement a health care financing system that is truly universal, affordable, efficient, effective and equitable because we have to use that time refining a system that has none of these features? We have time to expand the health care business model in order to enhance the returns of the medical-industrial complex, the private insurers and the pharmaceutical industry, but we can’t use that same time to ensure health care justice for all?
Maybe we should read once again Martin Luther King’s words on the myth of time.
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