In the same month I was born, he gave that speech. We still have a long way to go in meeting the ideals and examples, he and Malcolm proclaimed. That’s why this holiday is necessary; it reminds us of how far we have to go.
I wrote the above paragraph on MLK day. Looking back at it over a month later, I thought to myself, “what an utterly gutless tribute.”
One only has to look the hate crimes against people of Middle Eastern descent after September 11th. Or the hate crimes against gays and lesbians. Or the shooting of Amadou Diallo. Or the racial violence at Mardi Gras in Seattle last year. Or seething ethnic/nationalist tensions in Rwanda, the Balkans and many other regions of the world to know we are nowhere near achieving King’s dream.
If I think about it, it throws me into the bleakest of rage and despair. Against stupidity the very gods themselves contend in vain. It makes me hate being a human being.
But then I remember, that we have our moments.
Rodney King had a moment, after the fires started burning in LA. He asked, “Can’t we all just get along?” Ghandi, who was all too human, had a lot of moments. Malcom X had a lot of moments, for example, his Hajj was a moment.
And Martin Luther King, despite his all too human failings, had a lot of moments.
I try to remember this and it keeps me going.