Thursday, January 13, 2011

Martin Luther King

It is right and fitting that we honor Martin Luther King. The fears expressed by the Kerner Report that we were becoming two nations, one black and one white, to some large extent been eased through the work and dedication of Martin Luther King and his followers. Nonviolence as a means to overcome inequality and discrimination is truly a powerful force.
It seems that sadly we are still on the path of becoming two nations, one Red and one Blue and the chasm fueled by social media and the internet mean that chasm grows quicker, deeper, and wider at hyper speed. On his day this muse suggests listening to his "I have a dream" speech and resolve to discard the need to reach a conclusion in nanoseconds on your deemed opponent and replace it with the need to ponder, assess, gather and then after the passage of time, respond to the issue not attack the person. In symbolic terms remember purple is the sign of royalty or the trim worn by the Praetorian Guard and if you mix red and blue you get purple
Sadly Dion in "Abraham, Martin and John" was right--the good die young.

Martin Luther King, Jr

We honor all the warriors like Cincinnatus who left the plow to wield the sword,
But only the few—Christ, Gandhi, and King who bent the sword into the plow we should forever reward.
Each city has its faded, green, moldy statutes, swords held high of warriors on a bronze horse,
Or weathered markers of epic battles where for a moment the rivers of history turned course,
Too often, the monuments are flags and eternal head stones on well preserved lawns,
Row after row of young men in eternal rest, never to see again the morning dawn,
What of the battles not for gold, oil or lands to reclaim?
But rather for a simple seat on a bus to the work cramps tame
What of the battles not for resources or taxes to forcibly extract?
But rather for a simple seat at a counter instead a lunch shoved into a sack
What of the battles to claim minds and souls not by reason but by torch or by sword?
But rather for a simple seat in class with enough books for the learning train to board
What of the battles where human lemmings raised the bridge and widened the moat
But rather for a simple seat in a booth to pause, reflect and cast a vote
Wrong battles, wrong glory, wrong hell to honor, even if then for the right reasons
But rather a simple song to overcome without guns even if to the warriors seems near treason
Battles somewhat alike in innocence lost and civility left to bleed
But King’s nonviolence proved to be in the end more than a slender reed
Such a shame and such a waste to be taken from us far before his time
But even as his aides pointed from a balcony, something is far worse than such a crime.
God save us all if after so few years, we forget his deeds
Turn our backs, close our hearts and shed his creed.
If on his day we carry within our hearts an oral, beating monument to a dream,
Where only character, honor, and integrity will determine the members of a team,
We will have a chance to put more swords into the productive plows
More men to see the dawn, and the growth that their Creator has endowed.

Michael P. Ridley
© 1/11/2011

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