I’m rambling today, I’m not bothering to work this into one coherent meme, so by all means pass on by.
I saw a poll today on a website, I don’t remember which one. It was asking which moment in MLK’s life was the most important. The Dream Speech, his non-violence, his work on the Civil Rights Act. We get so hung up on analyzing things, breaking them down to their component parts, that we miss the whole. Which ripple in the pond do you point at and say, “There, that’s the most beautiful.”? Which note stands alone in a song? Go look at something by Seurat.
I’m not sure if we could have another MLK, not in today’s world. Not as he was. His message is more relevant than ever, his method just as much so. In some ways, we’re angrier now, and more petty. The commitment to not hurt others would be viewed as weakness by those who confuse force as strength, pacifism as capitulation. Dr King would be torn to pieces on social media before he began, by people who highlight every fault but forgive none of them. The crowd would demand perfection before following him, instead of rising above their faults in order to strive towards something better. Some days my cynical side wins out.
I dream of a time when we think of peace first, not the fist. The fist is easy, whether it’s with words or weapons. When you understand violence, when you know that you can hurt people if you want, non-violence is a choice. It is a consideration and a discipline that requires a will to use it. I lack the will of a peaceful man, but I can dream of a time.
I am thankful for Martin Luther King, and the so many others that remain nameless to our history books. The people who keep trying, who keep building towards something better despite our faults. I’m thankful for those who choose to work towards a better world and are there to remind me that cynicism can be ignored.