MLK: “Loving Your Enemies” Message for a Political System Based on Hate

I used to think we shouldn’t get MLK Day “off” since we should work extra hard on this day. But I’ve mellowed and think of his own debauchery and give myself some slack. No matter how many self indulgent things you’ve done: plagiarism, cheating on your spouse (as King did) you can still do great, even historic, things and be capable of great love.

It’s been a liberal mantra for the last four or five years that “Love Trumps Hate”. I’ve always thought that, but it’s become phony. Since the rise of Trump, the “progressive” mantra has been to demonize Trump and his supporters. Recent chapter was “progressives” yucking it up over Trump supporter having a heart attack at the Capitol after they went to town on the false story that he tasered his balls. Very high minded. Pure schadenfreude wrapped in virtual signaling.

In fact, US politics, both “conservative” and “liberal” is dominated by hatred. It’s the glue of the system. People don’t vote for Trump as much as they vote against Biden and the rest of “the swamp”; people don’t vote for Biden as much as they vote against Trump. Such a hate fueled system is exactly the opposite of what Jesus and his follower King preached.

See his 1957 sermon “Loving Your Enemies” (audio text) where he calls on people to

…discover the element of good in his enemy, and every time you begin to hate that person and think of hating that person, realize that there is some good there and look at those good points which will over-balance the bad points. I’ve said to you on many occasions that each of us is something of a schizophrenic personality. We’re split up and divided against ourselves. And there is something of a civil war going on within all of our lives. There is a recalcitrant South of our soul revolting against the North of our soul. And there is this continual struggle within the very structure of every individual life. There is something within all of us that causes us to cry out with Ovid, the Latin poet, “I see and approve the better things of life, but the evil things I do.” There is something within all of us that causes us to cry out with Plato that the human personality is like a charioteer with two headstrong horses, each wanting to go in different directions. There is something within each of us that causes us to cry out with Goethe, “There is enough stuff in me to make both a gentleman and a rogue.” There is something within each of us that causes us to cry out with Apostle Paul: “I see and approve the better things of life, but the evil things I do.” …

Another way that you love your enemy is this: When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it. There will come a time, in many instances, when the person who hates you most, the person who has misused you most, the person who has gossiped about you most, the person who has spread false rumors about you most, there will come a time when you will have an opportunity to defeat that person. It might be in terms of a recommendation for a job; it might be in terms of helping that person to make some move in life. That’s the time you must do it. That is the meaning of love. In the final analysis, love is not this sentimental something that we talk about. It’s not merely an emotional something. Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men. It is the refusal to defeat any individual. When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system.’ …

You can’t see straight when you hate. You can’t walk straight when you hate. You can’t stand upright. Your vision is distorted. ..

If you love your enemies, you will discover that at the very root of love is the power of redemption. You just keep loving people and keep loving them, even though they’re mistreating you…

Biden may well call for unity, but it will almost certainly be a call for unity based on national unity based at some level by uniting against alleged foreign adversaries. Circles around Trump want to target Iran; circles around Biden seem to favor targeting Russia. Both seem to be eyeing China. But that just takes the hate of the system to another level. That is even more against the teaching of Jesus and his deeply flawed but great disciple, King.

Sam Husseini is an independent journalist. He writes at