Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s legacy lives on in his son. He says here in the video above that he is a bridge builder, as a swarm of journalists try to get him to burn that bridge. I am deeply impressed with admiration for his response.
If you haven’t watched the video yet, please watch it.
We live in a sharply divided nation that is polarized on many issues. Race is just one of them, but race is one of the most visceral and difficult of the issues we face. Dr. King preached a message of love and unity in a world of hatred and disunity. In some ways the world is little different than it was when he was alive.
Modern secularists believe that mankind has advanced as a species, and we have technologically and in many ways, but some things are no different now than when we were entering the bronze age. Hatred still exists. We are divided as never before. The City of Chicago is a war zone, and real wars rage in war torn, modern lands. ISIS is torturing men, women and children because they will not convert to Islam, and people kill other people in our US cities for no reason other than they are different.
“We” (each of us) tend to want to blame these things on other people. Most of us are decent enough human beings, but we fail to see that we are kin, we are brothers and sisters, of our fellow human beings who hate and kill each other. More importantly, we are no different in our make up than “they” are. Jesus said:
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment….'” (Matthew 6:21-22)
What is the judgment? For one thing, that we are doomed to repeat history over, and over, and over.
The reporters in the video above tried to bait and persuade Martin Luther King, III into denouncing Donald Trump (some would say to return fire for fire), and he refused to be baited into abandoning his message of peace, love, reconciliation – bridge-building.
Eli Wiesel spoke at my college in the early 1980’s. He was a survivor of the Holocaust. His message was this: we all have the innate capacity for the highest good and the basest evil, and the only difference between us and people who have committed atrocities is our circumstances. Given the right circumstances, and we will be strongly tempted toward that basest evil.
The purpose of his speech was to expose the reality that we all have the capacity within us to do the things the Nazis did in Germany in World War II. He never had to mention Hitler, or the Nazis or Germany. He gave other examples more modern and diverse, of which, sadly, there were many , even in the early 1980’s.
He warned that we are all doomed to repeat history again if we don’t recognize that there lies in our own hearts the capacity for evil, the likes of which we would shrink in horror if we could examine it in ourselves… but we also have the capacity for the greatest, self-sacrificial good. We need to feed the one, and be on guard against the other.
In the US today, the inertia of public energy is threatening to pull us apart, pushing us into the extreme corners of our disparateness. Even as we waive the flag of pluralism and coexistence, we are burning the bridges that could bring us together. When people are pushed to extremes, they trend toward the capacity for evil that lies in us all.
Donald Trump is an extremist. He was elected by people who are being pushed to the extreme.
The answer isn’t to push even harder, as these journalists clearly were doing. They were trying to get Martin Luther King, III to gravitate over to the extreme, and to his great credit, he wouldn’t be pushed. He learned well the words of his father: