Letter: On Rev. King and human equality
The anniversary of Rev. King’s speech brought back memories of my youth and where America was as a people. We are better, but not finished. Too often, people forget King spoke not only of black, but human equality. MLK spoke of a vision of an America that any self-respecting human should have agreed with: equality and being measured by your character. A simple concept. You treat a fellow human as you would want to be treated and how you live your life determines what kind of human you are—part of the problem or part of the solution.
If you think you are a non-participant, "not my problem" or "I don’t want to get involved," you are part of the problem. In 1963, a small number of Americans that were born in slavery were still around and millions had parents or grandparents that were. The struggle for equality was fresh and for those who chose to stand up for a better life and a better country, I salute you.
Too many today accept decline or worse, yet believe someone else will fix things for them. It won’t happen. Using this simple concept, I ask:
Would the reverend, when he saw a whole generation of young men dropping their pants like a prisoner begging for sex please him or shame him? Would song lyrics extolling crime and denigrating their own mothers and sisters make him sing or cry? Would urban areas like Chicago, where people feed off the poor, terrorize and kill their neighbors, impress him or make him wonder why he tried at all?
We all know the answers. Call the person who speaks up a racist and claim no personal fault. The truth that Rev. King knew and would say if he were here is simple: One must lift themselves up to be worthy of a helping hand, and without character one cannot be worthy.
Today, using race, religion or any other excuse for your lot in life makes at most meat for the media, but the average person knows it for what it is—an excuse, not a reason. I challenge those who, like I do, want the vision MLK so proudly extolled to be part of the solution, make no excuses for poor character and celebrate those that illustrate the good content. It is not hard to do. Millions of Americans of all races, religions and sexes do it daily.