Wisdom from Dr. King: Leaders Listen

“A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

In recent years we’ve had our share (and then some) of violent verbal jousting in public (and media) discourse, rioting in the streets, and electoral revolt. America has been buffeted first one way and then the other by competing parties and ideology.

Too few of us comprehend the wisdom underlying Dr. King’s words. Our leaders must begin to listen to everyone and then act decisively to bring about balance and secure freedom for future generations of Americans.

Unheard, unhappy people overthrow the status quo, not so much to make others unhappy, but because the status quo is for them untenable.

Systemic equilibrium – balance – requires determining what various interests need in order to be content and live peaceably. Balance doesn’t mean no one gets their way, but that most are satisfied and few are sufficiently motivated to change things. It requires correcting what’s out of whack for the good of the overall system.

Plugging one’s ears ignores bitter roots of unhappiness and perpetuates upheaval and riotous behavior. While conflict may go underground for a while, it will be back.

So leaders, stop talking at us. Unheard, unhappy people overthrow the status quo one way or another. Today’s happy Americans may too soon be the unhappy ones again.

Figure it out. Get to the root of the country’s problems and quit focusing on symptoms.  Attempt to understand what everyone needs.

Seek balance over partisan and ideological victory.

Oh, that King’s wisdom and words would not fall on deaf ears. Leaders must listen.



  1. Teri, no truer words could have been spoken. It's all about balance and our leaders just plain don't get it. They need to observe the comments that are online in facebook, etc. There are many unhappy American citizens that usually don't say too much, but are becoming involved in the conservations of issues. All the polititions need to do is read! JJ


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