I found a prompt for my post today. It came from the DailyPost and it is:
A Reason To Believe
Bruce Springsteen say in his lyrics to “Reason To Believe” that we all need something at the end of the day to believe in. Bruce is a great spokesperson for the working and middle class people of America. What is it that drives us to strive and achieve each day?
Today in the US, we honor the memory of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and we attempt to use this day to help others in accordance with the many wonderful messages that Dr. King left to us. It is a tragedy that he was taken away from us far too soon, I was only 4 years old when he was assassinated, but I am fortunate enough to have lived in an era where we struggle to make his visions and dreams into reality.
The ideas that Dr. King endorsed are so very basic that we sometimes have to step back and wonder why they are so necessary. Sadly, there are those who still believe that these ideas are controversial. It is the struggle against those people that makes it so important for all of us to live a life that would honor the ideas that Dr. King fought for. Since I am white, I cannot ever fully appreciate the impact that Dr. King really has had on this country. While I completely support his message, I cannot comprehend being denied basic rights based on the color of my own skin. This is the definition of what we now refer to as White Privilege. It is the completely corrupt idea that because an issue has not impacted the white portion of America that it must not be a real problem. Sadly, that is the problematic viewpoint that too many Americans still have.
Equality is not something that is achieved in an instant. Equality is not something that, once finally achieved, is then considered something that is over with and moved on from. Equality is something that we all have to work for. Equality has not been achieved, and those who claim otherwise are in effect defending the discrimination that Dr. King dedicated his life to fighting against. Equality will never be something that we look back on and wonder why it took so long to achieve because it will always remain an objective for each generation to strive towards.
In America today, we see the ugly side from those who would diminish Dr. King’s message. We see people for whom racism and discrimination are a way of life clinging to power and once again attempting to broaden their support by claiming that “Racism is over with”, or they will claim that “Dr. King was a conservative” in a vain attempt to justify their own hateful practices. We see white Americans seduced by a Nazi like Donald Trump, with his message of division and hatred that look exactly like the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s. I always have to remind people that Hitler and the Nazis first came to power through elections, there was no violent revolution that came first. The terror came afterwards.
I think that Dr. King would be proud of President Obama. I also believe that he would urge the President to do even more to address the issues of inequality that we still face today. Dr. King would likely see President Obama as a milestone for how things have improved, but I also believe that he would see the intense hatred directed against President Obama as proof that we still have a long ways to go before we reach what he described as “The Promised Land”.
Before his tragic death, Dr. King began to talk about things like the violence of poverty and the injustice of war. In the decades since his death, progress has been made. We are much farther along than we have ever been, but the road is still a long one and there is no time to turn back or to stop. I believe that Dr. King would have endorsed the same struggle for equality that women, other ethnic minorities, LGBT and the disabled continue to fight today.
As a Gay Man, I appreciate Dr. King for his struggle and his message. Because my partner is black, I have gained a much deeper understanding of how important Dr. King is, and needs to continue to be for us all. To allow any segment of our society to be lessened is an indictment of us all, particularly those in power who have the responsibility to make this country great for all of us.
I believe that the message left to us by Dr. King can never be diminished. It remains an eternal goal that must be constantly fought for and defended. There will always be people who want power only for themselves, these are the ones that we have to guard against. I believe in HOPE. I believe in EQUALITY. I believe in JUSTICE. I believe in LOVE. These are the beliefs I have that comfort me at the end of the day and inspire me on to the next.