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Celebrating MLK Day: Honoring a Legacy or Just Another Day Off?

The civil rights leader Martin Luther KIng (C) waves to supporters 28 August 1963 on the Mall in Washington DC (Washington Monument in background) during the "March on Washington". King said the march was "the greatest demonstration of freedom in the history of the United States." Martin Luther King was assassinated on 04 April 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. James Earl Ray confessed to shooting King and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. King's killing sent shock waves through American society at the time, and is still regarded as a landmark event in recent US history. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has always been viewed as an iconic member of not just American history, but world history. The slain civil rights leader’s belief in peace, equality and justice has not only been cemented in history books, but has been embraced from generation to generation.

Every January, there is acknowledgment on behalf of his birthday and a federal holiday to commemorate his life. But given that it is 2016 and our nation still suffers from racial tension, bigotry, violence and division, one must wonder if King’s legacy has succumbed to merely a day off work and school.

While each era and generation differ in challenges and obstacles faced, there must still be a respect and recognition of humanity in order for relationships to be created and restored. As America embarks upon yet another presidential election, one must wonder how King would perceive not only the mood of the country but the rhetoric that has been spewed.

Would King’s message of forgiveness and unity clash with Donald Trump’s message of anger and arrogance?

Would King endorse the use of retaliation from those who feel neglected by law enforcement?

Would King admonish us of entering another conflict with a foreign country despite the rise of Islamic radicalism around the globe today?

One could simply ponder what King would say or feel in the 21st century, but one thing is for certain: we’ve substituted the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr for selfish ambitions.Instead of helping our neighbor through a hand-up, we’ve been exposed to the socialistic message that government should provide everything at the expense of someone else.

We’re being told by politicians that everything is free, neglecting to inform us that robbing Peter to pay Paul is still thievery. We’re being taught by some that fear of terrorism and inadequate national security preparations should make us weary and hostile towards those of different cultural and religious beliefs.

Much has changed since King stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial and declared his dream of racial and economic equality.While we no longer find ourselves staring at separate water fountains and segregated schools, we have segregated ourselves by thoughts and beliefs.

Those who cherish the right to bear arms are finding themselves ostracized by the government for any crime that’s not committed by a law-abiding citizen. There are many who hold steadfast to traditional family values, but yet are ostracized by their opponents for being intolerant. And then there are those who are weighing the options of compromising their moral convictions for the sake of an election.

These same individuals will praise King for his acts and will issue out complimentary rhetoric of his achievements, but are distant to ever making his dream become more of a reality. The fact of the matter is that all of us can do a greater job in unifying our families and communities, not for a political cause, but for the advancement of humanity.

If he were alive today, this is what Dr. King would want to see.

 

Photo by InSapphoWeTrust

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