All right, on this annual celebration of the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., let me just keep it simple.
The work that Dr. King spearheaded is still far from over, and in some ways, race relations are worse now than they were in the 1990s and early 2000s. As we celebrate how far we’ve come from the days of Jim Crow and crap like that, let’s remember that many seeds of racism and injustice are still scattered throughout the United States. They continue to sprout weeds of hate, and the only thing they need to flourish is the help of loudmouths with hateful or exclusionary agendas and the complicity of everyone else in not shouting them down.
Also, let’s remember that as great a man as King was, two things bear noting:
- He was also a flawed man, and has plenty of skeletons in his closet, so let’s not deify him. We need to honor his vision and leadership, not pretend he was a saint.
- He wasn’t the only key figure in the early Civil Rights Movement, and others (whether they agreed or disagreed with him and whether they used the same or different tactics) achieved as much as he did, perhaps more in some ways.
Finally, let’s all learn to practice notions like kindness, listening, justice, fairness, peace and other things that folks like Jesus Christ told us to hold to…and let’s practice them on all people, not simply those who look like us or like the same things we do. We’re in this ship together folks, and if we don’t learn to work together, we’re going to hit an iceberg and all sink to our doom. No joke.