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What the US needs to heal is MLK's radical revolution of values

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This month marks the 90th birthday of Martin Luther King, the iconic American civil rights and human rights leader who forced America to live up to its rhetorical ideals of freedom, democracy and equality. For his efforts, he was assassinated in 1968.

The fallen Nobel laureate and "drum major for justice" - vilified, ostracised and loathed in life, monitored and hunted by the government - was honoured posthumously with a federal holiday in the United States. Yet, as that holiday has been diluted and repositioned into a national day of service, and Dr King's character has been neutered and rendered a passive, innocuous and idealistic dreamer who gave rousing speeches, Americans have lost sight of the man's revolutionary philosophy.

Five decades ago, Martin Luther King warned of America's triple evils: racism, economic exploitation and militarism. These evils continue to plague the country to this day, necessitating the radical restructuring of society the black leader so urgently promoted.

"I am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values," King said in his "Beyond Vietnam" speech. "We must rapidly begin … the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."

Racism, the original American sin born from the enslavement of Africans and the genocide of indigenous peoples, has not abated. In his 1963 "I Have A Dream" speech, King said as........

© Al Jazeera