“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” MARTIN LUTHER KING JR
In 2008 I painted a portrait of Barack Obama in thought. During debates he was often criticized by his opposition for not thinking quickly on his feet in debates. I thought that he was the best choice for President because he was the candidate who thought before he chose his words.
My mother’s voice was always calm and soothing. She took time from her life to read to me. I still can curl up inside the memory of her pleasantness and the choice of her words.
My father had less time for extended warm moments. His voice was firm, authoritarian and final. It was also loving because he was loving which was reflected in his choice of words.
Martin Luther King Jr came along later and just reinforced my appreciation for the spoken and written word.
THESE TWO MEN HAVE A ( HUGE ) CONTRAST IN THEIR IDEAS, POLICIES AND WORDS
This past Sunday on the morning TV shows in America we heard a continuation of the defense that our President’s words don’t matter. Worse than that, some of his backers suggested that the President of the United States just expresses the same thoughts in words that many American think but don’t say. By flipping to another channel one could hear the words of Martin Luther King Jr.
These are two men who idolized their fathers.
The messengers and the messages couldn’t be any more different. Both had powerful fathers. Donald Trump grew up with the voice of his landlord father in his ear. Martin’s father was a powerful figure in his community serving as the pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church. Martin learned from his father to stand up to power while Donald may have learned about power over others from his dad.
In the 1950s one of Fred Trump’s tenants, Woody Guthrie, wrote an unpublished song “I suppose / Old Man Trump knows / Just how much / Racial Hate / He stirred up,” Fred Trump, likely profited from racist practices that the government tacitly approved at the time.
In a 1973 lawsuit the US Department of Justice alleged that Trump Management Corporation had violated the Fair Housing Act of 1968 by systematically denying people rentals “because of race and color.” Fred Trump, in testimony said he was “unfamiliar” with the Fair Housing Act, and that he hadn’t changed his business practices after the federal law went into effect. Being “unfamiliar” with the laws of the land and not knowing when something is just wrong does have a familiar ring.
President Trump has been asking us to return America to a time before Dr King helped turn us away from the coarse dialog of bigotry. The President uses the language of that time because I think that is what he has learned and the only language that he is comfortable with.
.”Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” MLK
Dr King witnessed his father being subjected to the practices used by our President’s father.
He was aware that 12% of America could not demand that 88% of our nation instantly change their ways. Fortunately for us he was surrounded by the Christian beliefs that his father preached along with the church’s tradition of peaceful persuasion. His weapons were his words.
AND HIS WORDS STILL DO MATTER, So this week we will be celebrating Martin Luther King Jr’s life and ideas..
HERE ARE SOME OF HIS WORDS:
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
“No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d die for.”
“The time is always right to do what’s right.”
“…the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.”
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.”
“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”
“Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve… You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
“No person has the right to rain on your dreams.”
“There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.”
“Lightning makes no sound until it strikes.”
“True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”
“If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.”
WORDS DO MATTER
Words still matter to me and fortunately for me to my family.
“We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers.”
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”
“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”
Martin Luther King Jr had many gifts. He seemed to see truths clearly and these truths directed him to speak out and to take action. His clear thinking, consistency and his love and consideration for all proceeded his inspirational choice of words. How the heck could any one man be so good at both knowing and explaining so much? Martin Luther King Jr was challenged every day of his life. For many his messages were inconvenient, for others he was dismissed as being inappropriate. He may never be accepted by some but the words that he chose will help protect the importance of his messages forever.
PLEASE LEAVE COMMENTS
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” MLK