[I originally wrote this post in 2015; I’ve given it a little update and posted it again this year.]
Yesterday, Martin Luther King, Jr., if he were still here with us, would have celebrated his 88th birthday.
I wonder what he would think about certain things. Such as:
- would he hashtag any of the social causes of the present on Facebook or Twitter? Would he even use social media?
- what would he have to say about gun control in light of so many mass shooting incidents across the country and homicides in the inner cities?
- what would his thoughts be on the refugee crisis, immigration, and American involvement in the Middle East?
- would he play Powerball or Mega Millions when the jackpots get really big? (I guessing he wouldn’t, being a preacher and all…but I still wonder).
- would he post photographs of his marches from years past on Instagram for Throwback Thursday?
- would he be on the street, railing against the seeming lack of diversity in movies and television?
- how would he deal with the incoming President? Would he dare criticize Mr. Trump for his thin-skinned ways, for lashing out at people who would dare to criticize him? Would he even attempt to help Trump understand the issues facing people of color in the country? Could he even help the man in any way at all?
- would he have stood up for John Lewis, after Trump’s unfortunate, ill-advised attacks on him? Could he convince the man to get off Twitter, grow up and be serious about the job he faces?
- how would he feel about Russian involvement in the country’s election? What would he think of Trump’s seeming embrace of Vladimir Putin? Would he have an opinion on Trump’s seeming lack of confidence in the country’s intelligence community?
- would he rail against today’s rap music and its unending themes of sex, money and drugs?
- would he try to take down trolls on internet sites who would call him names and try to do and say anything to discredit anything he did or tried to do?
- would he criticize social media culture in general, where it’s easy for anyone with enough keyboard courage to say anything at any time? Would he be dismayed at how easy it is for people to call black athletes names that white athletes are never called? Would he voice his concerns at the seeming rising of the so-called Alt-Right movement, or white nationalism; or speak against the apparent rise in incidents involving people of color?
- would he shake his head at the things people say or do, all in the name of being famous or getting attention?
- would he be retired and perhaps marginalized, sort of as an Emeritus “drum major for justice”?
- would he have gone anywhere there were protests decrying the seeming over-reliance of deadly force on black males? Would he call for justice at the trials of the officers who were charged?
- would he try to remind us that compromise and cooperation are not dirty words? That working for common ground best defines a democracy? That governing is not a zero-sum game, or a my way or the highway mandate? That government is supposed to work for the people, not for those elected to make government work?
- would he speak out about a Congress that has seemingly done nothing for years, but collect paychecks and argue, but offer no meaningful solutions to the people’s problems?
I think he would still be reminding all of us to remember that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Then I remember…he’s going to be 88 years old. Would he still have the “fire in the belly” to do any or all of those things listed above? Or would he, having lived a full life, have given us a group of leaders, not just black, but of all races, nationalities, religions and backgrounds, to work on bringing us together rather than dividing us. Leaders who remind us that we have good within us, and that we need to use that good to bring to others. That love for one another is our greatest command to follow.