Not sure why specifically but I guess it’s the whole stinking pot of shit news that’s got me remembering icons. The great ones, who touch down for short snippets of time to do good for the planet. You know the type, those who cure, not infect. Not as almighty as the Christ or as grandiose as an übermensch, but ordinary folks who strive and march and work tirelessly for the betterment of other ordinary folks. I don’t know if those people just don’t make the headlines anymore or can’t yell over the frenzied hype, but I am desperate for their comfort, their strength and their vision. Desperate for those who can lead us out of the status quo state of collusion, corruption and chaos.
On the eve of our national celebration of this one ordinary man, it is easy to honor Martin Luther King Jr. for all that he gave. I don’t need to tell you of his extraordinary accomplishments, for a new world manifested with his prayer. MLK was a creative thinker and problem solver extraordinaire. Disagree? Travel back in your history to life in the 1950’s or just watch 20 minutes of Mad Men, where women were used and abused without a second thought, and any person of color treated with less dignity than that, and all the disparity will flood back. Can you even imagine arriving through the back door and using separate facilities when your name was headlined on the marquee? Yeah, that black and white world. I am left to wonder, is there a leader in our midst that could emulate even the smallest of King’s qualities?
MLK was a man of faith who rose from humble means and fought for those without a voice or any possible power and worked his way right into the Oval Office to stand shoulder to shoulder with Presidents. History moved in a straight line forward as he navigated an uprising. Without violence. Just let that settle. People walking arm in arm right into a world “when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring” (King).The same world that is still imagined for our American, but without a leader to step us over.
King sang. With his soaring oration he moved our nation to unfathomable highs. We are still reaching for those freedoms, but his hope could use assistance. As we celebrate MLK’s legacy, let’s demand a rise in the standards of our current elected officials, our religious leaders, teachers of all ages, and our neighbors and ourselves. Let’s start by denouncing even the smallest hints of bigotry, but let us also decry irresponsible practices of inequity resting within all our private dark places.
Five years ago, I posed the question, What are you willing to March for?, and responded in this blog post. Tonight I dare once again to imagine and remember what it takes to dream. What better time to start a brighter tomorrow than today?