Monday, January 18, 2010


Comic JK

Funnies aside, I have to say that as I get older, I'm paying more and more attention to holidays. I don't generally "celebrate" them as such, but I ponder them and think about their importance. What are we really celebrating? Today we should reflect on the enormous impact and importance of the life and work of Martin Luther King. As I said to another coffee drinker a few minutes ago, if not for his work, we'd certainly have a different president in the US today.

Think about that. An entirely different time line, an entirely different history. It's unknowable what the situation would be in that alternative world, but it would be very different. I suspect it was unimaginable to people my generation and older that a black man would be elected president during our lifetimes; I know it was for me just a few years ago.

It's not as if we don't have a lot further to go, as if we have accomplished everything that needs to be accomplished, but I do think it's worth noting and celebrating how far we've come in the last 50 years.

I had never before sat down and read the text of MLK's "I have a dream" speech. I prefer to read speeches rather than watch them. Reading gives me the option to re-read easily and quickly, to make sure I'm getting to the marrow of meaning before I move on to the next sentence or paragraph. Not saying reading is better, just that that's what works best for me.

It gives me goosebumps.

The Christian Science Monitor has the text of the entire speech and a selection of quotes, a few of which are below, in this article.
• I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant. –Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, Dec. 10, 1964

• Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.

• I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.

• I submit to you that if a man hasn't discovered something he will die for, he isn't fit to live.

I may or may not get around to watching this today, but if you'd rather watch the speech than read it, here's the vidclip.

This has been an unexpectedly quiet and slow weekend around my favorite coffee shop. I've never really been aware of people actually treating MLK Day as a three-day weekend, so it sort of got my attention this year in a way that it hasn't before. It started me a-pondering... and I'm kind of glad it did. I'll likely paste on other bits and pieces I come across in my reading today that move or amuse me.

No comments: