Today, we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his accomplishments for civil rights in the United States. I feel that this year that the holiday is more poignant than ever. With this in mind, I decided to reflect upon Dr. King’s accomplishments and how some of his speeches and quotes are very relevant and important today. As Sir Winston Churchill once said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” With this in mind, it is very important to remember the accomplishments and sacrifices made by Dr. King and to learn from his life.
Dr. King is best known for his leadership during the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 after Rosa Parks’ arrest for refusing to give up her seat and his “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. Given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, it is considered one of the best speeches of the 20th century. As well, he was adamant that the protests remain nonviolent, even when the protestors themselves faced excessive force and brutality. He was assassinated April 4th, 1968 by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee, an escaped convict and outspoken racist against Dr. King and had stated his intention to do so before. Dr. King left behind a wife, Coretta Scott King, and four children.
There is much we can learn from Dr. King’s speeches and life. Unfortunately, today, America faces a great divide among itself. Some of it stems from the multiple deaths we have seen of unarmed African-American men at the hands of police, some comes from violent protests which have followed. Frustration is rampant. Other divides have developed politically, and these have continued to grow after the 2016 presidential election.
From my point of view, it is also too easy for people to hide behind a computer screen and comment. Yes, I recognize the irony of this statement as I blog. But I see so much hate online! I dread reading the comments section, so many people just use hate as their basis or anyone who doesn’t agree with them is an idiot. I can’t stand that. Lately, many of these experiences have started to make me feel like a hippie, something I never considered myself. I was always the kid who wanted everyone to get along. I suppose that hasn’t changed. I hate, hate. Hate isn’t a word I use lightly. It takes too much energy to hate. If people channeled their energy in hating into something positive – like to make change – the world would be a much better place. The only person I can think of that I hate would be Osama bin Laden. And I don’t think I have spared him many thoughts since he was killed. I wonder what Dr. King would think of the world today. Sometimes, I think we forget about the rights we have as Americans to free speech and peaceful protest. I don’t understand any of it, to be honest. I see these disagreements on both side, and it is kind of mind boggling and makes the hippie come out. But I wanted to share my thoughts on some of his quotes and how important it is to apply and remember today.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
These two quotes go together. This is exactly what I am talking about. You can’t combat something has negative with hate with more hate. All you’re going to do is butt heads, and in some way, shape, or form, someone will get hurt. Hate takes a lot. It is exhausting. Love allows growth. Great things come from love. Love can mean many things. Of course you have your romantic love, but I’m talking about something both simpler and more complex. Love for your fellow man. Love for life, love for country. In the end, we’re all just trying to live a happy life. Life and liberty. Reach out to others! Maybe I’m a fool, but I believe love can change the world. We can change the world – it’s our world! Let us work together. Listen to the opinion of others. Keep your mind open and heart full. I’m a walking cliché today! Our beliefs may be different, but I will respect your right to it.
The time is always right to do what is right.
What is the right thing? Currently, that really seems like a loaded question. To me, it is helping others. Bringing others down just isn’t something I can support. How did “treat others the way you want to be treated” become so complicated? Granted, Dr. King was probably speaking on a grander scale, but that’s a start, right? It is not always easy to do what is right, but it’s important to so that we may grow as individuals and society. It is one small step that can lead to something great! Just like Dr. King also said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” Keep faith in love! Keep faith in doing what is right. Keep faith in your fellow man. We’re all humans trying to leave. Sometimes, we just might need to reach out to each other.
Honestly, I could go on and on about Dr. King and responding to some of his quotes. But I hope that I have made my point. To honor Dr. King’s life, mission, and sacrifice, to honor our country built for freedom, let us remember the importance of doing what is right and respecting our freedoms. I’m not the most religious person, but there is one verse that is important to me and quite applicable here. 1 Corinthians 13:13 – And now these three remain: Faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Faith, hope and love. We need these. If you’ve read my blogs before, you know how I feel about hope. Along with faith and love, it can change the world. My goal with this post was to help people reflect on this MLK day and share my own reflections. It is up to each of us to keep these going; whatever be your faith, whatever you keep hope in, whatever and whomever you love. How can we serve others? How can we bring change? How do we want to see the world? I hope that this allows people to reflect on our freedoms, rights, and how we can become more unified in the future. We all have a role to play in making change. I never thought I’d be a hippie, but here we are, so peace out.
Have a fantastic day,