This morning I read Martin Luther King’s address given in 1961 at Lincoln University (just a few miles up the road from my home). I’ve read it over and over again in the past year and a half during this bizarre election cycle. You can probably find it online if you care to give it a glance, and I hope you will. At the very end, he asks his audience to “allow the preacher in me to come out now.”
I’m allowing the “preacher in me” to come out this morning, using King’s framework from that address given over 55 years ago. Let me say then, that I never intend to adjust myself to discrimination of any sort. I do not intend to adjust myself to racial, gender, or religious bigotry. I do not intend to adjust to an economic system that makes the rich richer. I do not intend to adjust to the rhetoric of hatred that denigrates the worth of any human being. I do not intend to side with those who reject the basic decencies of human society. I do not intend to fall into the pit of belittling those who disagree with me. I am maladjusted! I pray that the majority of the American people are maladjusted enough to reject in these next few days what seems to me to be a crucifixion of the values of the American dream. I am deeply discouraged that many cannot see what is happening—but I’m not about to adjust to that way of thinking.
“So let us be maladjusted,” as maladjusted as the prophet Amos—“Let justice run down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” Let us be as maladjusted as Abraham Lincoln, who had the vision to see that this nation could not exist (divided) half slave and half free. Let us be as maladjusted as Jesus of Nazareth, who cried out, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
It is through such maladjustment that we will be able to emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight” of Trumpism. It is through such maladjustment that we can heal the harm that has already been done. We cannot let it go any further—it has gone on long enough! The harm it has already done will take years to heal. Do not adjust. Be a part of the maladjusted and reject that to which, deep down inside, you know you cannot accept for others or for yourself.