I usually like to watch a couple of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speeches on this day, as well as ponder the meaning of his life, his words, and his actions. I still get teared up when I watch “I Have a Dream,” not just for the content, but for the passion of a public figure that sometimes seems to me like something we will never recover. In an era when our idols are movie stars and sports figures, it seems almost quaint that a man who worked for the betterment of the poor and downtrodden was celebrated and looked up to by large segments of the population.
So I ponder the meaning of words like service, activism, mission, and humanity. And I think about what small bit of difference I can make in a world that seems to have gone overwhelmingly off-track in terms of almost every human value.
Maybe I’m uncharacteristically pessimistic today, but I am humbled by the legacy of a person who lived his life for others, not a saint, but a human being who cared deeply about the human condition.
My favorite MLK quote is always a toss-up between:
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice,” and
“Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.”
I like this one I saw on Facebook today:
“The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.”
And this one is worth thinking about as well:
“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
Sobering, yes. But always spoken with belief in humanity and the future.
What are you doing to observe MLK’s legacy? What are some of your favorite quotes? Please share in the Comments section.