Commentary: We're still missing the message of MLK
Can you believe it? Can you really, truly believe it?
I sure can’t.
As yet another Martin Luther King Jr. Day approaches on Monday, we still can’t figure out one of iconic political activist’s core principles, the art of protesting peacefully.
If we had any doubt about that – if we still weren’t quite sure about it – then the recent events at the U.S. Capitol building proved it beyond any shadow of a doubt.
Disgraceful? Inexcusable? Appalling?
Yes, all that and then some, disappointingly and sadly so.
Like other such events in the last year or so, that wasn’t really a protest. It was a riot – and a wild and crazy one at that, with no order at all.
I don’t care what your political beliefs are.
I don’t care what your race or heritage is.
I don’t care how old – or young – you are.
I don’t care what you’re upset about.
And I don’t care if you’re a man or woman.
It doesn’t matter to me – none of it does – and I bet it doesn’t matter to you, either.
Under no circumstances – no circumstances, none at all – is it OK to break things, smash things, loot and pillage, burn things down. It is not right as part of a protest, and it is not right at any other time, in any other situation, in a civilized society.
Why we need to just mention that – let alone explain it fully – in the year 2021, when we were long ago presumed to have an orderly society, is mind-boggling.
It says a whole lot about where we are, and aren’t.
It’s a horrible look not just for the people committing these crimes – and make no mistake about it, these are indeed crimes, and serious ones at that – but really, for all of us, even those who abhor such things. For if one of us does it, then it reflects upon all of us, which is why those in other countries, far removed from what’s going on here, were so utterly disappointed.
We’re the superpower of the world. We’re the greatest and most powerful country in the history of time. We’re No. 1. We’re not some third-world country run by a crazed dictator.
We’re the United States. And we have to better than that, not just for ourselves but for those in every corner of the globe who look to us for guidance, reason and organization.
If Dr. King could come back and see all this, he would be disgusted. All of that work we did, and in some ways, we’re no further along in how we conduct ourselves, and treat others, than we were when he left us in 1968.
Broken things? And subsequently, his broken heart. What utterly poor timing.
Happy MLK Jr. Day, if you still can.