Today’s famous quotes emerge from the works of leaders who advocate justice for all people irrespective of their socio-economic, religious, and political settings. These leaders have assisted in promoting peaceful and justified coexistence among individuals. The aspects for living justly with others include accepting equality, liberty, peace, unity, morality, justice for all, respect for one’s culture and language.
Conventionally, people hold that the differences that exist among them are the chief causes of the evident injustices that run deep in societies around the globe. However, such thinking is misconstrued. In fact, the reverse is the true because, justice holds if people acknowledge their differences, after which they devote themselves into suffering primarily to the benefit of others. In addition, living justly only begins when a justified person takes the bold step of associating with the unjust.
This, as exemplified by Martin Luther King Jnr., makes the just person stand an excellent chance of nurturing justice in a place where it never existed. Therefore, based on the claims made in the Gettysburg Address, Letter from a Birmingham Jail, and Mother Tongue by Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Junior, and Amy Tan respectively, we can live justly with others who are not like us because we can work to understand each other.
Although people may differ in terms of race, color, language, and religion, it is false for one to declare these as barriers towards just living. These are mere parameters of identifying people. What matters is the state of the inner self. Abraham Lincoln is an epitome of people who campaigned for oneness among people, no matter their gender, language, and color.
His Gettysburg Address, made during a period of conflicts and wars among the Americans, strictly conveyed the message of unity and togetherness. In his address, Lincoln declared that, “a house divided against its self cannot stand” (Lincoln Para. 3). The divisions mentioned here refer to the various races, color, languages, and religions.
The bottom line is that, we are all people, symbolized by the term ‘house’ in the aforementioned statement. Therefore, if all people viewed each other as brothers and sisters of the same ‘house’, then they could live in a just manner despite their differences. For instance, Gettysburg Address of the year 1863 marked the turning point of the American Civil War especially after the death and capturing of thousands of soldiers.
Consequently, the Northern and Southern Americans had to accept the initial expectation that, ‘‘the war would…settle quickly with little bloodshed’’ (Lincoln Para. 15). They accepted the situation and realized that people needed to live in unity by stopping the bloodsheds.
By observation and experience, people understand the importance of living justly with others regardless of their differences. Considering the American civil war, ‘‘dead of Gettysburg…piled upon in the battlefield, quickly decomposing in the hot summer air… and thirty-five hundred Union soldiers reinterred in graves organized in radiating semicircles according to the eighteen states whose soldiers participated in the battle’’ (Lincoln Para. 2).
People often learn after observing sorrowful incidents. In this case, it does not benefit the killer, the loser, the nation, or the observers. It may bring a positive change to the generations after especially if people learn to respect the dignity of human life (Lincoln Para. 5). There is, therefore, no justice for all in case of war or division. Its effects are beyond the expectations of human beings leading to sorrow and fear. Lincoln speech makes one understand that despite the deaths all human beings are equal.
We can live justly when we work to understand each other, with leaders promoting the culture of togetherness and intimate friendship (Lincoln Para. 16). Moreover, the leaders should address the ills of the society in a manner that does not create animosity amongst the people advocating for the constitution that respect the values of human life. Therefore, Lincoln’s revolutionary speech drew controversies that sparked the civil war (Lincoln Para.12).
However, he acknowledged the amendment of the American constitution to bring the nation back to normalcy by eliminating the threats to human life such as slavery, which was the American constitutional policy. Lincoln embraces the ‘‘Declaration of Independence and the phrase all men are created equal as the cornerstone of the nation’’ (Lincoln Para.6). Every nation should implement a constitution, which spells out clearly the rights and freedoms of the people, for justly and equal living.
Having a different idea, approach or a way of doing things by a person or group has attracted injustice from those who do not share such an idea or approach. However, this should not be the case.
There exist inevitable ties that bind people no matter their actions. Luther cited the inevitable relationship that he had with the clergymen as one key reasons as to why he was in jail. He even refers them to as “men of genuine providential will” (Para 1) no matter their step of jailing him. Therefore, according to Luther, we need to understand and treat others in a just way no matter their action.
For harmonious coexistence with those who are not like us, all people – the oppressed and oppressors – should get a dignified treatment. When people pay an evil with an evil, it results to a disorderly society with no good structures of handling issues (Luther Para. 6). Luther’s statement asserts that ‘‘…our actions, even though peaceful, are worth condemning because they precipitate violence…’’ (Luther Para. 8).
Luther acknowledges the power of peace. He says, ‘‘I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that we use must be as pure as the ends we seek’’ (Luther Para. 3). Moreover, according to Luther, ‘‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’’ (Para. 4). Therefore, a person, whether in a position of leadership or not, should at all times strive to do justice for all.
By building trustworthy relationships, we can live justly and do right to others at all time because morality is an extraordinarily critical element for peaceful and justified living of people in any given society. However, people identify and differentiate morally accepted and unaccepted behavior using the laid down rules and regulations (Luther Para. 4).
Therefore, all must accept any law that a society adopts as it depicts the roles, duties, rights and freedom of every person in that society. According to martin Luther, ‘‘one has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws’’ (Luther Para. 7). The society set standards should also educate its members to obey other cultures and practices for decent neighborliness and brotherhoods.
Living justly with others who are not like us requires peaceful living and the ability to appreciate and acknowledge one’s language and culture. Human beings are social beings with diversities, as they speak different languages with different accents (Tan Para.9). Therefore, by understanding the fact that speaking a different language does not make a person inferior, people can learn to coexist with harmony.
A person should understand that one is born, and finds him/herself in a community with different customs and traditions (Tan Para. 1). As such, respect is paramount. Amy Tan realizes that she does not speak fluent English as her mother but later begin to appreciate her roots and heritages.
People with poor language proficiency feel worthless and have low self-esteem and (Tan Para.8). Amy felt worthless because her mother declared that she was poor in English, which Amy believed depicted the nature of her speech every time affecting their relationship (Tan Para.4). The relationship between family members including children is tremendously crucial for the upbringing of the children as it eliminates stress and fear in one’s life.
Furthermore, keeping with the cultural background and heritage is universal for justly living. Changing a person’s culture often results into generational gap: being ashamed of oneself, and of his/her parents because of difficulties of adjusting to the new environment (Tan Para.10). Therefore, it is essential for one to remain focus, grow professionally and change the way of life and/or develop positive life skills for living with others in peace and justly (Tan Para.5).
The story Mother Tongue is about one’s heritage. ‘‘…and start to appreciate her mother heritage for its real potential’’ (Tan Para.3). As such, she begins to write about her mother. “I wanted to capture what language ability tests can never reveal: her intent, her passion, her imagery, the rhythms of her speech, and the nature of her thoughts” (Tan Para.7). She learnt to appreciate her mother in helping her discover her potentials.
Although people are unique in nature, they must always continue to learn to coexist with one another, as such is remarkably vital for socio-economic, political, and religious development of people. Nobody is an island; at one point, a person needs another, in one way or the other.
Lincoln, Abraham. Address at the Dedication of Gettysburg National Cemetery, 1863. Web. 30 Oct. 2011.
Luther, Martin. Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963. Web. 30 Oct. 2011
Tan, Amy. Mother Tongue. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992.