Monday, January 19, 2009

The King and I

Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King’s birthday, when I was growing up, was marked by African American kids staying home from school...which, no doubt, would have really, really horrified Dr. King. Now, of course, we have the official holiday (even if most years it's not actually on his birthday...then, somehow only Christmas and the 4th of July manage to escape the overwhelming force of Americans' everlasting desire for a long weekend), though I don’t know how thrilled he’d be about everybody staying home and playing Grand Theft Auto in his honor, either...which is part of what makes the Martin Luther King Day of Service a beautiful thing....last year, I walked around Germantown picking up trash in vacant lots. This year...I must confess...I didn’t...though I’ve spent much of the day reading books on therapeutic writing, which I hope will be useful in helping some of society’s dispossessed to tell their stories....I think maybe Martin would be okay with that....

Lately there’s a lot of talk about how happy he’d be right now...and I can’t doubt he’d be pleased with certain recent events...though it's hard to picture him sitting around with a complacent smile on his face—more likely, I imagine, he’d be thinking hard and planning, eyes focused squarely on all that remains to be done....

11 comments:

Me-Me King said...

I agree, he would not be honored by kids staying home playing or committing Grand Theft Auto.

Brooks Hall said...

Yes, you're right. It's not a time for complacency. I am inspired and awed by the words of Martin Luther King Jr.

Aggie said...

The dream was a long time coming to fruition ... I hope it is all he would have hoped it would be.

earthtoholly said...

Nice tribute, drjay, and Dr. King would indeed approve of you celebrating his day by working to help the disadvantaged. And how different and possibly better the world would be today if he were here to see it...

Dano MacNamarrah said...

Dear Dr. Jay,

First, I'd like to thank you for your support during my recent malaise.

Oddly, I was in Germantown today, helping an elderly lady by painting her house. It looks like I'll be there for a few more days...She has a lot of stuff crammed in there, which all has to be moved out of the way.

Yes, I think that King would be proud of our new president. But we still have a long way to go to reach the Promised Land. At least we've had a peek of it!

svasti said...

Yeah, there's still much work to be done, for sure.

But what a moment for reflection.

Not just for you Amurican folks... its actually a big day for the rest of the world, too.

Especially countries like Australia where the chances of us having either a female Prime Minister or a black one are much, much less likely than it is for you.

That said, the fact that you now have taken another huge step forward, suggests possibilities in my own rather conservative (and I think still very racist) country.

So yay. And happy birthday MLK.

darkspark said...

martin luther jr. continues to challenge us. that while much has been achieved, there is always more to do.

Brunhilda said...

What a beautiful quote. Here's to fighting complaceny and putting down the video game controller.

Lana Gramlich said...

I agree completely.

Melinda said...

What an amazing Martin Luther King day this year. I suppose I should always reflect on King's accomplishments the way I did this year--but I don't. Of course, I am familiar with the 'dream' speech--but because of this particular election, I paid much more notice to King's words this year--and felt the power of them much more so this year.

You are right--King would not sit around, with a complacent smile on his face--he would take this time of high energy in our country and take his cause to new levels. Because yes, even though we have come a long ways--there is still so far to go (yet).

A nice piece, Dr. Jay--I liked it a lot.

Melinda

Barry said...

This makes sense. I am not sure he would be so proud of our new president as proud of our nation for having him.