Monday, January 17, 2011

MLK Day offers more than honoring the man

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" are the words penned by the Founding Fathers in their declaration of severing ties to the King of Great Britain. "I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers" is just one aspect of Martin Luther King's famous "I Have A Dream" speech. Today we give honor to the slain Civil Rights leader.

A lot has changed since the Declaration of Independence in America to overcome the inequities that existed at her beginning. One thing that still prevails is the lingering racism and the heated rhetoric that comes with discussing the topic. Many laws have been enacted to ensure equality yet we to more harm than good. The last election cycle saw a shift in the political landscape as Tea Party backed candidates and other Conservatives won at all levels of government in a manner never experienced. Then we had the tragic shooting in Arizona by a deranged mad man to which the airwaves blew up with blame, hate, and ignorant thought. We, as a country, are facing a time where government has grown to large and consumes too much while drifting away from one with "unalienable Rights".

Some see the birth of the Tea Party a direct response to Obama being elected President of the United States while mainstream media has spun it as well. Now, as with all groups, the Tea Party does have its fringe element but their views are not aligned with the base. In fact the Tea Party is not much different than the group Ross Perot attempted to form a decade or so ago. I bring the Tea Party into the conversation because the vitriol that has surrounded the movement does not echo the "Dream" of King or the use of "unalienable Rights" within the Declaration of Independence. President Obama's memorial speech did touch on taking pause and reflection hopefully today we can do more.

Take a moment today to read Dr. King's "Dream" speech and look around your community and see if society is living up to it. As well, read the Declaration of Independence and ask yourself, "Is our current path of government allowing ALL people of the United States the ability to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness?"