Hope was and still is a major theme in the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. I remember some of his speeches in the 1960s, but the true involvement was my sister, Judy, who spent most of her life working to help others get free from the bonds of poverty, and yes, modern slavery – human trafficking. I remember the 1960s all too well; I was in the USMC and the USMC Reserves from 1963 to 1967. The number of times I was exposed to being posted to Vietnam were many, frightening, and very bothersome. Due to injuries while on active duty, I never did go. I recall Dr. King preaching hope.
But, I do remember the frustration, the anger, the loss of all hope, as I saw my brothers in arms going to and returning from war, sometimes in pieces. I also remember the race riots in Detroit, Newark, Los Angeles. Due to my age, I cannot recall what exact years, but with a little research, I could rediscover this time. And, King preached hope.
The other thing that I remember so well, and can never forget was the violence. Beginning with the assassinations, I enlisted on the day JKF died; my sister, a follower of MLK, and I shared tears when King was murdered in Tennessee. And I was watching on TV when RFK was killed after a rally, while running for president. The hope of MLK was lessened, but it did not die.
These were dark times in the life of the country; they were also dark times around the world with wars, cultural upheavals, and struggles for freedom, be they racial or gender equality. I remember well the violence at the Democratic President Convention, when Chicago police brutally beat protestors, demonstrators, and newsmen equally with little regard for humanity. Through it all, the message of MLK continued as hope, not just for the black man, but for humanity. It is what we had to fall back on in our frustration and anger. Hope cannot die!
That was fifty years ago. We are now living in another dark age, both at home and abroad. The culture of America has been lessened due to the seeming lack of caring by all our political leaders. I will not just pick on one person or one party; they all are to blame. The lack of cooperation in Washington has affected the entire world; hope is not a message that is transforming human culture; but, perhaps the lack of hope is.
During my times of spiritual reflection and prayer, I reaffirm my belief, my understanding, and my faith that all will return to normal. But how many will sacrifice, how many will lose lives, lose status, lose families?
I find it difficult to accept that we, as a country, are allowing our government to deport men who have families, who were brought to the United States when infants. The message from government is go home, ignoring the fact that this is the only home they have ever known. They are being sent to a strange country, and in some cases, do not even speak the language.
How evil our government has become, how uncaring, how insensitive, and how greedy. On this day, after the celebrations of MLK’s birthday, I am rereading his speeches, remembering the impact he had on our society. We met his message with violence. Will we continue to meet all messages of hope and equality with more violence. I hope not; but I do remember that violence was used 2000 years ago. We do like to murder hope and good news; don’t we?
I pray for Hope!!!