Sunday, January 14, 2007

Martin Luther King Jr.

Today I inadvertently tuned the radio to a station which was broadcasting the famous “I Have a Dream” speech of Martin Luther King Jr. in which he seemed to speak with his heart. I had never really paid much attention to those words. Someday I will have to listen to the speech in its entirety.

It seems to be a speech which had great relevance at the time of its original delivery. The words which I heard appear to have relevance yet today and I think that is something which separates a truly great speech from all the rest.

So why is it that so many seem to have lost sight of that dream? What went so very wrong? Are we today living the dream which Dr. King spoke of? It would be difficult to conclude that with all of the violence in the community which he spoke most often to that his dream has been fulfilled.

I believe that even though much progress had been made in the early days of civil rights that we have all lost sight of what it was that he had seen on the horizon. Was his death something which contributed to what society is today? Would it be any different if he had lived the fullness of his days?

I was just a young boy when that speech was delivered. Today we live in a greatly degraded society which has not yet even begun to see the true cost of hatred, drug addiction and the violence associated with such things. What is the true cost? A young rookie cop on the streets of Paterson, New Jersey is shot dead while standing tall in order to make those streets safe. That price is too high.

Violence and disrespect of women is commonplace among certain segments of society. I do not think that this is the sort of society that Martin Luther King Jr. had sought. Has freedom and equality which he rightly fought for in fact become the very thing which will destroy his people, all people?

Never shall such a thing come to pass. For when one segment of society stumbles and falls all of society is diminished. As a white man who lives far away from the bright lights of the city I suffer little from the violence of the inner city. But such a situation is echoed even in the peaceful countryside as the elements of a culture of drugs and violence reach out across the land.

A friend, a practitioner of Islam tells me that if one person is murdered it is as if the entire human race has been murdered. In other words all life is sacred and holy to God. So when an entire community is under siege in fact the entire world is under siege.

When will someone stand up and say that there is a better way to live. Who has the influence to change the current mood in America? Is there someone out there waiting for the right moment to stand up and say stop the violence? Has that person not yet been born to us?

I was recently performing my assigned duties and one of those things which I must do on occasion is to pay a very brief visit to one of Americas far too numerous abortion clinics which shall forever remain nameless.

While going inside I often encounter clients of that facility. I imagine that the scene is pretty much the same at any other abortion clinic in a large metropolitan area. I don’t write the following words in an effort to cast aspersions upon any particular group or class of people. It is simply an observation of fact.

It seems that so many of the clients appear to be teenage girls of African American ancestry. That is not to say that there are not also white girls but in this instance at this particular facility the clients are primarily of that particular minority.

Often they are with a few people who appear to be young girlfriends there simply to lend emotional support. Sometimes there is a young boy who is, I would image, the person responsible for the pregnancy which has in many instances just been terminated.

I have to ask myself where mom and dad are. Do they even know? I saw your daughter crying today mom. Her heart was breaking. Where were you daddy? The dream is dying. I can’t allow myself to care. I cannot afford that luxury. I know only one truth, “The world is cold.”

I simply turn off my emotion center and do my job. I record some basic information and place a container in a plastic bag. As I sit here in the comfort and warmth of my palatial abode I have to wonder, did I just pick up a container which held the person who would someday grow up to find his or her destiny.

Did I just see the end of the individual who would someday have a dream and lead people to a land which flows with milk and honey? I make no judgments about the decisions of others. I don’t know their circumstances. But still, did the world just quake in despair?

I can only think of the words of my Islamic friend who believes that to end the life of one is to end the life of the entire human race. I can only think on this day of remembrance of the words of a man who once spoke to the heart and soul of a nation. I can only believe that when Martin Luther King Jr. died, the entire world died.

I think of my own words written to consol myself after having returned home from the funeral of a thirteen year old boy who died in a tragic car crash on the way to hear a political speech to be given later that day by President George W. Bush in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania while on the campaign trail.

I share those words of mine with you and thank you for thinking about a special man and his dream. Perhaps someday you and I will be able to share the things spoken of in that dream.


When I feel like the world is slipping away
Like a rope that has been cut loose
When life seems dark and cold
As a feeling of despair creeps in
When no one seems to care
And joy is only a word
Or peace is just a dream
When hate fills the world
When words of hope fall down
Like a man who has failed at life
Because he knows not victory
When darkness is all around
If life seems as nothing
When hope is only a word
And dreams have gone away
When tomorrow never happens
In birth a child fills our heart with joy
In death a child fills our heart with sorrow
Is Sometimes Today
The world is cold
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

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