Martin Luther King Jr – 2014

MLK – Thoughts of this day.

When Barak Obama was elected president there were tears of hope and a sense that something was happening  that was a few years ago unthinkable, a black president.

There were some that were less enthusiastic, but I believe the majority of Americans saw his presidency as a positive. But we all seemed to fall into a trap that now everything would turn out right and America has come to a point where there was no turning back. History does not work that way. There are steps forward and there are setbacks, but even as Dr. King himself said “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”

So while most of us read the harsh tone of the disenchanted with dismay, we must keep the faith. There is a belief that I harbor in my mind that says that things will be better. The stereotypes that those of us who are older were so used to expressing are no longer in our vocabulary. Those thoughts are relegated to the dust-bin of history. That last statement is true, but it is not universal. There are some that will take the feelings of prejudice for gays, blacks, Jews, Italians, and everything that they are not, to their graves. But we will all go to our graves some day and that leaves a generation that knew and felt less prejudice to go on.

Young people today have less likelihood of being prejudiced, partly because many in my generation held their tongues. Perhaps we were being “politically correct” but that term is not a pejorative. If we kept our narrow-minded opinions to ourselves, we were doing our children a favor. We were allowing them to make judgments on their own. If we admonished our friends gently by smiling and saying simply “not funny” when they told a joke that belittled one group or another, we furthered the goal of acceptance. In order to help others see the hurt they are inflicting we need not be condescending.

Martin Luther King Jr was a champion of civil rights, but few people understood the workings of the minds of those that would disenfranchise him. The course he chose to change this nation was dangerous to him and his followers, but there was no other course he could have taken that would have been more effective. Had he lived to the day when he could have inflicted damage to his detractors, I believe he would not have.

Nelson Mandela did live to see the day when he held the reigns of power, but did not retaliate. I believe Dr. King would have been equally forgiving.

Ernie Fazio