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MLK’s wisdom needed in our divided nation

Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. during

Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1963 March on Washington at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Hulton Archive

As Martin Luther King Jr. Day arrives, Long Island, like the country, feels increasingly divided and fragmented. Rhetoric gets ever more charged, we increasingly hunker down into respective corners of our communities, and too many of us are too predisposed to too quickly vilify the “other.” This retreat from community undermines our ability to discuss pressing public issues, let alone tackle them.

A lesser-known King address, “Loving Your Enemies,” contains a precious message we need to hear now more than ever. In calling for love of one’s enemies, King said that when we speak of loving those who oppose us, we speak of a love that “means understanding, redeeming goodwill for all men, an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return . . . a willingness to go to any length to restore community.”

Although King certainly felt righteous anger, he worked hard to control it. He astutely observed, “. . . If I respond to hate with a reciprocal hate, I do nothing but intensify the cleavages of a broken community.”

For a country that feels increasingly at war with itself, MLK’s legacy contains wisdom and insight we’d be wise to heed.

Todd L. Pittinsky, Port Jefferson

Libertarians ready to flex political muscles

In the 2018 statewide election, gubernatorial candidate Larry Sharpe almost doubled the required votes necessary to give the Libertarian Party an automatic line on New York State ballots for the next four years.

What does the party do with this gift? Answer: Run as many candidates as possible in every local county and town race.

The Nassau County chapter of the party is already working to nominate qualified candidates in 2019. The two-party system is failing all levels of government. From the partial federal government shutdown to the Nassau County property assessment problem, we see the failures of having just two parties holding all the cards. A major third party can bring balance to county government and hold officials accountable. While Democrats and Republicans fight it out over issues, Libertarians look to come in and take some seats from the squabbling children.

Kevin Warmhold, Merrick

Editor’s note: The writer handles social media for the Nassau County Libertarian Party.

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