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The Suburbanite
  • Charita Goshay: True patriotism is service to country

  • When you burn away all the dross, tamp down the rhetoric and turn away from the noise, the reasoning behind the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday really is simple: It’s a day to remember an American citizen who put country first.

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  • When you burn away all the dross, tamp down the rhetoric and turn away from the noise, the reasoning behind the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday really is simple: It’s a day to remember an American citizen who put country first.
    In history, few nations set their dreams and ideals to paper. But America did. King’s mission was to convince a country that so many said was ordained by God to act like it.
    The deep South of the 1950s might as well have been Mars: fiery, inhospitable and dangerous. King left his comfortable middle-class family of theologians and academics to embark on an Abrahamic journey through this hostile terrain to claim an unseen promise.
    THE SECRET
    To sacrifice one’s own future for a greater good requires a patriotism that few of us possess, let’s admit it. But it is the secret of life, one that is as old as the Scriptures:
    It calls us to seek justice and humility.
    To give to the poor and, by doing so, lend to the Lord.
    To love your neighbor, not in hopes it will be reciprocated but because he or she is made in God’s image.
    To believe that the greatest among you must be the servant of all.
    King hardly walked on water.
    A man after God’s own heart, his own was led astray into the murky waters of adultery.
    Given how it could end, he was deeply reluctant to seal his fate by becoming the centerpiece of such a titanic struggle as civil rights. In short, he was a weak, fallible and all-too-human person whose life was buoyed by grace — just like our own.
    But he bowed his will to destiny.
    FATAL FLAW
    The King holiday reminds us that the bearers of truth are always unpopular, that truth is deeply uncomfortable because it lays bare our hypocrisies, and those who proclaim it shouldn’t expect to be thanked for it.
    But America became a better nation for finally embracing the truth of its own creed that equality is a gift of the divine that supersedes human law.
    We’re a better country because one American was willing to assume the mantle of the prophet.
    The desire to live free and unhindered and on equal footing with one’s fellow citizens is not uniquely American, but it is deeply, inextricably woven into the fabric of what it means to be American.
    Despotism’s fatal flaw is that it’s unproductive. When people are free, their gifts blossom, and everyone benefits.
    The world will not long remember those who equate wealth with worth. They are the ones who push and shove and demand and consume and still they are not satisfied.
    Page 2 of 2 - The servants, not the served, are the ones we remember because they remind us that loving one’s country means serving it.