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January 15, 2007

Sounding The Alarm

Derek Shackelford

As the national holiday in memory of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., takes place today, one of the questions I ask myself is where do I/we go from here?

Every year celebrations and dedications takes place across this country to honor the life of this great American. The many speeches are made to remind us of the vision that this visionary articulated.

As I ponder the question of where do we go from here, I ask myself: are we headed toward chaos? We find communities fractured, the country fractured, and the world fractured.

Many of the stances that Dr. King took during his era were deemed unpopular. Now we have leaders and individuals who see which the way wind blows, which way the Gallup Polls sways, and which way the opinion polls move. We are no longer led by our conviction to do right. We are more inclined to just survive.

The prominent theme that Dr. King preached was love. Love for one's self and love for neighbor. It appears that we do not love ourselves, so how can we love our neighbor?

Criticism is the norm of the day. The issue of the N word was front and center last year. Opponents of the word declare that this word has no value and is a form of self degradation. Some are calling for a ban of the use of this word. Proponents of the use of the word deem that it is in the manner of its use. They will say that the constitution protects their freedom of speech.

Could you imagine Dr. King using this word as a term of endearment?

We heard this past week that more troops will be sent to Iraq. Dr. King opposed the Vietnam War openly. While there were many who called him a communist and questioned his American loyalty. Dr. King opposed the war based on moral convictions and spiritual principles.

So the Iraq war continues with no end in sight; yet many still stand by with silent voices. The President of the United States wants to spread democracy. Dr. King wanted to spread love. These two concepts are not one in the same.

In conclusion as I wonder if we are headed toward chaos, I still believe - that although it seems dark and the light rarely shines - I still believe in the dream of this minister named King.

His dream was not simply about awards, fame, plaudits, the bling and the blang. The dream was - and is still - about a vision in which everyone would be free. Because this one man dreamed, I can dream today. But to dream in not enough. We must awaken to the possibilities.

There is a belief that dreams are for those who are asleep. A clock is the tool that awakes us to the work ahead. Somebody please sound the alarm!

Happy Birthday Dr. King!!!

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