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Letter: Congress needs MLK's humility

Published October 16, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Imagine Republican leaders John Boehner or Mitch McConnell calling a press conference this evening and addressing President Barack Obama with these words: "If I have said anything [in recent weeks] that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the truth and … allows me to settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me."

With the insertion of the three words in brackets, these are the words with which the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. concluded his "Letter from Birmingham Jail" to the clergymen who taunted him and held him in contempt for leading non-violent demonstrations on behalf of civil rights.

How much we might learn, and how greatly the nation might benefit, if Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader McConnell — and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi (and all the rest of us) — were to find the humility and magnanimity that Rev. King displayed in helping America survive its last great impasse.

L. Jackson Newell

Salt Lake City