Monday, January 17, 2011

Motivational Monday #32 - MLK Day - A Dream We Still Need To Realize...For Everyone

Today is Martin Luther King Day, and if you live in the United States, I'm sure you already know that.

Martin Luther King was a man with a vision, a man who wanted civil rights for all.  While a lot has been done in the years since his "I Have a Dream" speech, there remains a lot to do.

As a nation which was founded on inclusion, we have a long history of exclusion.  We have pushed around ethnic groups, religious groups, political groups and groups of disabled people. We have spent a large portion of our history trying to defend our right to dislike others.

Here's the truth of it.  We do have the right to dislike others...we just don't have the right to take that dislike and breed hate.

Right now the nation mourns the loss of innocent lives after the shootings in Tucson.  In a knee jerk reaction there are plenty of people trying to find someone to blame...someone beyond the person who pulled the trigger.  There are those who blame his apparent untreated mental illness, those who blame his parents, those who blame gun laws, and those who blame the schools he attended.

The blame game is once again polarizing the people of this country. We are poised to identify yet another group of people who we can hate, another group of people to rile against.

As Martin Luther King's speech states:

"I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

When we can realize this part of Dr. King's vision we will stop judging each other based on color, religion, social-economic status, political views, mental or physical illness, gender, sexual orientation, or education level. We will truly see each other as equals.

My challenge to you is to find one person you have made assumptions about, one person you "think" you know, and really get to know them.  Find out why their views are different.  Find out why they oppose the ideals you hold dear.  Do so in the spirit of understanding.  Do so because you want to respectfully disagree, not just fight.

Take the time to see beyond what is obvious to you, and learn what is of value to others.

Dr King had a dream, but in order to realize that dream we must learn to include different ideals, different methods, and different goals.

Dr King continued his speech by later saying,

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

To which I would add, that they would not be judged by their religion, their income, their health, their political views, their...well you get the idea.

Today we celebrate a man and a movement.  We celebrate the effort and organization it took to bring equality to the people of this country.  I would hope that accomplishment will also extend to those who are struggling today.  May we all have a dream, and may that dream come true.

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