January 18, 2021
What a two-week period in American history! Three major “I’s” on three January Wednesdays – Insurrection on Jan 6, Impeachment on Jan 13, Inauguration on Jan 20!
Today’s official celebration of MKL’s birthday gives us some perspective from which to view all three. The 264 years of slavery did not end with a few minds changing but with the Civil War. Since then violence against African Americans has continued with lynchings, “legal” executions, the destruction of the Black Wall St. in Tulsa with over 200 deaths in 1921 and police killings today. Racism has not ended, as seen in its extreme destruction in the attack on democracy and murders at the US Capitol on January 6. Cruelty, injustice and violence were the foundation blocks of our nation and will continue until we transform them.
Yet throughout that history, voices and actions of courageous men like Martin Luther King have encouraged the other side of our national character – hope, equality, tolerance and unity. We have a choice always to transform the violence and hatred into peace and love if we choose to expose and demand accountability for wrongs done and forge ahead with concrete plans to end this pandemic, its economic suffering, the divisions of racism.
The next step is acceptance of the reality of the Biden/Harris executive power to make progress in extending the Covid vaccine and healthcare benefits, granting economic help to the poor and unemployed, and mending divisions in our political system.
Americans are great at making “lemonade,” at seizing opportunity, at rising to our “better selves.” Martin Luther King urges us still to see the stars through the darkness, to take the hand of our neighbor, to help ourselves and our country survive these crises with renewed strength and a vision of the “sunlight of opportunity.”