“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Dear Dr. Martin Luther King,
Today we celebrate your life & legacy. Almost 50 years ago, you had a dream. A dream that all men were created equal & that all minorities would be treated as equals. In a way, we’ve done that, as today your nation is also publicly swearing Barack Obama in to his second term as President, the first biracial president. During your time Dr. King, that couldn’t have happened, so that is progress. There is no more segregation, everyone seems equal on the surface, so there’s that.
However, things aren’t ideal sir, & for that I’m sorry. We’re still a racist society. People still crack jokes about the disrespectful folks on Maury as if they are the spokespeople of your race, instead of the lowest common denominator. You’re dismissed as drug dealers & criminals & you can count the number of Oscar winners on your hands. We still segregate people, only we’ve moved on to the LGBT community. Your nation lets them vote, but not get married. Your nation looks down on immigrants, giving them low paying jobs, stereotypes based on those jobs. I don’t feel you would approve of the way Mexican Americans or Arab Americans are treated. Your nation responds to threats by bombing every nation to the ground. I don’t think that was part of your dream & I’m sorry.
We as people are apathetic now. A man of your conviction would be treated as a sideshow act, while we waited for the Kardashians to come on TV. Your nation celebrates a man who beats his girlfriend, treats criminal records as “cred.” Your nation uses charity work as a status symbol, a chance for photo ops while the issues with poverty, homelessness & a fractured foster care system go ignored. Inner city schools are closed, so children are sandwiched in classrooms, but more concern is paid to the NHL lockout. Your nation cares more about their right to bear arms than the death of Trayvon Martin, a 15 year old boy who was attacked and shot for wearing a hoodie & refusing to answer a man on a power trip & the victims of the Newton CT massacre. We are a society of “Me” not “We” & I’m sorry.
We don’t love each other. We push away those who love us & hurt those who love us when our ego is bruised. We don’t forgive mistakes, we punish. We milk past hurts as an excuse to ruin the present & very few of us live up to our potential. You gave a message that love could change the world & somewhere along the way we lost that message & lost what love is. It got lost in the pursuit of money & notoriety, the quest to be right instead of be understood. You taught us about non-violent resistance, how assertive words & passion bring about the reward. You taught us that faith in your conviction, truth in your words & love in your heart could change the world. Somewhere we became selfish & missed the mark & I’m sorry.
I’m sorry that your nation & others lost your message & now only listen to you today because they’ll be forced to. You can take solace in the man that leads your beloved country heard you & continues to fight for your weakest, those without a voice & hopefully, change will come. I hope that today, everyone hears a transcript of your great words, whether that you had a dream or that you were on the mountaintop & focuses on loving their fellow man. Maybe they can quit their “harmless” jokes (that I too am guilty of), stop generalizing entire groups of people, & learn to love people & allow love to flourish.
I hope one person hears your words that will be played before every American TV show & takes them to heart & applies them to their life. For they will show others, who will show others & eventually, your dream will be a reality, even if it takes 100 years.