Monday, January 21, 2008

Martin Luther King, Jr.

In observance of the birthday of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., today is a government holiday in the U.S. I'm quite sure this video or portions of it will be getting a lot of air time but that's not a bad thing. The man had a message.

He speaks of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Of their failure to apply to everyone in this nation. Here we stand 45 years later and it seems that we are in danger of the Declaration and the Constitution applying to no one.

He dreamed of a day when people would be judged not by the color of their skin by by the content of their character. Here we stand 45 years later unable to fulfill that dream because there seem to be so damn few people of CHARACTER around to judge. People are happy today to be mindless sheep following the person with the nicest hair, or the best 15 second sound bite, or the one that didn't show any emotion, or the one that showed too much. The one that's the right color, or the right gender, or - my personal favorite - the right religion and loudest holy book thumper. People today don't know what character is. It's been so long since they've seen anybody that has it.

Rev. King was speaking in the 1960's about the issue of American Civil Rights. But there is a larger message. Some issues transcend time and location. I've copied some of his quotes below. They could've been spoken today.

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

"A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan."

"Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love."

"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

"The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood."

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."

I too have a dream. Free thinking people of character that are guided by principles.


Here is an Associated Press article that points out just how complex and UNpopular Dr. King was when he was alive. Something that "creatively maladjusted" "disciplined nonconformists" seem to have in common with one another. Popular view of King ignores complexity.


Malicious Intent said...

Very good write up Bruce and all so true. Whatever ever happened to having courage to stand up for what you believe in, for respecting what others believe in. How about agreeing to not agree without blowing each other up? Instead of picking each other apart for our differences, how about celebrating those differences and learning more about them, appreciating them for their own beauty and meaning.
I think most in the world walk around blindfolded so they do not have to face any of the unpleasant realities going on around them.

Simply Curious said...

There are still a few of us (more than a few) that stand up for what we believe in. Some of us a little more outspoken than others. The country has changed over the years, a lot because of what he and a few other like him in his day stood up and made people listen to change and progress. He gave the ability to this country to be able to scream what you need to be heard at the top of your lungs for everyone to hear, and for it to be ok.

You got me all sappy and shit. Dammit.

Bruce, a work in progress said...

You guys are early. You weren't supposed to read this until tomorrow.

MI, very true. I've said many times that the only thing I will not tolerate is intolerance. Celebrating differences is fine with me. I'm not a flock kind of person.

You go SC. There really has been a lot that's changed and we have come a long way. It's just that lately we seem to have been moving very the wrong direction. So shout good and loud and don't stop you're heard. We all need to scream.
Aw, sappy is okay every now and then. Besides, it was probably the cold meds you've been taking.

Malicious Intent said...

I just added my own little graphic I created, it does not mention MLK but I think the sentiment is the same. Besides, I like crayons. :)

Here is a toast to all of us who are brave enough to get on our soap boxes and scream till we are heard!

BBC said...

Free thinking people of character that are guided by principles.

And this has what to do with the Constitution? If I ran this planet I would burn it, if you did you would also. You wouldn't be running a democracy either.

Think about it.

Bruce, a work in progress said...

MI, I'll drink to that. I loked your crayons.

BCC, I grow weary of your broad, sweeping cynical comments. I also grow weary of you assuming that you know me. You do not. You could never hope to understand me so please stop pretending that you do.

Kitty said...

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

Amen to that. Mr King was a man of courage, and an example to us all to have the courage of our convictions and support what we know to be 'right'. That's very different from what we believe to be right - since what some people believe is right, is plainly very wrong.

Does that make sense? I haven't expressed it very well.

Nice post. x

Bruce, a work in progress said...

Kitty, you expressed it just fine. I makes perfect sense.

Malach the Merciless said...

I agree with you there, we don't care about color anymore, we just care how nutty our celebs are.

pissed off patricia said...

Last night my husband asked me, What is the first word you think of when you hear the name Martin Luther King, Jr? My answer was, bravery.

Bruce, a work in progress said...

Yeah Mal, there seems to be so little of substance. Even important issues are reported in an "Entertainment Tonight" manner. We are sliding towards "Idiocracy".

POP, how true. If it isn't evident to everyone by everything else he did all one has to do is watch his last speech that was made the night before he died. It was almost as if he knew...and still marched on.

Hungry Mother said...

Very comprehensive writeup. Thanks for the clarity.

I presented you with this award for excellence in blogging.

Bruce, a work in progress said...

HM, thank you again for the award and the kind words.

Malicious Intent said...

Bruce for President!

Malicious Intent said...

Bruce for President!

Bruce, a work in progress said...

If nominated I will not run. If elected I will not serve. I want to be king!

Malicious Intent said...

I have decided that I am voting for Bin Laden's son. He is the only one that is sending a clear, direct and easy to understand message that I agree with. "Hey Dad, stop killing people!" He has my vote.

Bruce, a work in progress said...

Based on the primary results, he has as much chance as anyone else to get a nomination.