A man who murdered a 17 year old boy for being young and black was just set free. Racism is alive and well here in the US and it’s sickening to watch for half of this nation and most of the outside world.
On his birthday every year, we trot out the wonderful vision Dr. King had for a future in which people are judged according to their character, which is the only just way to judge someone if you must judge them. The small but vocal minority on the right are openly hateful and dismissive during that time, but as much as they anger me, they serve as a reference point, reminding me what we’re fighting against.
Harder to take is the fact that many of us put King’s vision aside for most of the year like a Christmas tree, reserved for special occasions. The regressives don’t take a break from their fight, as we can see from their constant work to subjugate women and their immediate attack on voting rights once the Supreme Court cleared it.
The only way to defeat those who want to drag us back into the past where they’re comfortable is to unite, putting aside our many differences to focus on the fact that we’re all human beings with the same essential needs, and we all want every person to be regarded as fully human, treated with compassion and encountered with empathy. We need to make the regressives uncomfortable in our society, let them know that their hatred is unacceptable and that we will welcome them fully into society only when they begin treating everyone, not just their tribe, as full human beings, equal to themselves.
I don’t have the answers for how to do this. I think that like many efforts to attain justice, this must be done in waves. Feminism is a great demonstration of that. We need a visionary like Dr. King or Gandhi, both a thinker and a planner, to unite us in action for a new wave of nation-wide activism, and help us sustain our effort until the world is actually transformed into a place where we can all live with confidence that we are loved by others, regardless of our color, intelligence, beliefs, or abilities. Then we can relax and enjoy the world we’ve created, while remaining alert against any attempts to take us back to our hateful past.