Well, today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so my first thought was to post a sample of Dr. King’s writing. Certainly, the man could put words together in a way that I only wish I could. But Dr. King was much more than a wordsmith or an orator. Gifted with words though he was, Dr. King gave his words power and immortality through his actions. He led a life devoted to justice, to righting our nation’s wrongs, both historical and temporary, and to confronting the structures that perpetuate hatred and injustice. And he did it with non-violence.
Dr. King was an extraordinary man, and he deserves every honor and accolade that he receives, but for his vision to be achieved, for our country to truly transcend the sins of our history and bridge the racial and social divisions that still exist today, Dr. King needs to become ordinary.
What do I mean by that? Well, I mean that ordinary Americans need to internalize his message. The message in his words must come through in our own. His commitment to justice must become ours. Rather than revere his commitment to non-violence, we need to practice it ourselves.
Dr. King gave his life in service to a vision of a better, more just and more equal America. He was committed to helping our nation live up to the promise of our most deeply held ideals. His vision to be fulfilled, we all must internalize his message to the point where his extraordinary words reflect ordinary behavior on all our parts.