Monday, January 16, 2017

LIZ SMITH: Peace, hope, and equality for all

“WE MUST accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Liz Smith & Denis Ferrara

WE
are taking today off, in terms of “entertaining” you, in memory of the late Martin Luther King, Jr. I know that taking time off is not possible for everybody. Many of you have to work, even on this national holiday.

But what we can do today, at some point, is remember the assassinated civil rights leader’s message of peace and hope and equality for all.

Nowadays within seconds, you can bring up on your computer or iPad or cell phone, King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Read it, understand it.  Not simply in the context of more than half a century ago, when “things were so bad.”  Read it with an eye, ear and a heart open to the struggles of 2017. 
History has a terrible habit of repeating itself.  It’s hard to say if we can truly change the seismic rhythms of history.  But, it can’t hurt to try.  I hate to burden you all, but it is actually our duty to try.

We’ve heard so often that we live in a “post-racial” society. And that the election of Barack Obama to the presidency — twice! — was proof positive of that. Sadly, Obama’s presence in the White House revealed a still-deep racial schism. Deny it if you want to. I don’t, I can’t, I won’t. 
Yes, things have “improved.”  But Martin Luther King’s dream of transformation has yet to awaken America fully. We’re still dreaming. Equality and justice often slumber, deeply. Someday, maybe, Dr. King’s sacrifice will be fully realized in a genuinely “post-racial” world.

In the meantime, we can try just a little bit harder to curb our own creeping prejudices — on matters of race, religion, sexual preferences and identity, the ongoing battles of sexism and ageism. Or — how we feel about people who are on the “other side” of our political leanings.  Do not paint with a broad brush; we are, all of us, infinite in our variety.
We must recognize our own sometimes faulty but (hopefully!) open-to-repair judgments.  And, recognizing similar confusion in others, try to work with them to make a great dream come true. For everyone.
 
Contact Liz here.