Monday, October 17, 2011

I cut this cartoon out a few days ago so I could remember that, 
"every jerk has a sad human being trapped inside."
Every greedy executive, every thoughtless banker, every 'jerk' needs compassionate energy.

"I send you peace."

Then yesterday I listened to President Obama's Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial dedication speech. I was once again inspired to believe that we are 'tied in a single garment of destiny', God resides in each of us. That light in me is also in you.

Here is my favorite excerpt from yesterday's dedication:

And just as we draw strength from Dr. King's struggles, so must we draw inspiration from his constant insistence on the oneness of man; the belief in his words that "we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny." It was that insistence, rooted in his Christian faith, that led him to tell a group of angry young protesters, "I love you as I love my own children," even as one threw a rock that glanced off his neck.

It was that insistence, that belief that God resides in each of us, from the high to the low, in the oppressor and the oppressed, that convinced him that people and systems could change. It fortified his belief in non-violence. It permitted him to place his faith in a government that had fallen short of its ideals.

And so at this moment, when our politics appear so sharply polarized, and faith in our institutions so greatly diminished, we need more than ever to take heed of Dr. King's teachings. He calls on us to stand in the other person's shoes; to see through their eyes; to understand their pain. He tells us that we have a duty to fight against poverty, even if we are well off; to care about the child in the decrepit school even if our own children are doing fine; to show compassion toward the immigrant family, with the knowledge that most of us are only a few generations removed from similar hardships. (Applause.)

To say that we are bound together as one people, and must constantly strive to see ourselves in one another, is not to argue for a false unity that papers over our differences and ratifies an unjust status quo. As was true 50 years ago, as has been true throughout human history, those with power and privilege will often decry any call for change as "divisive." They'll say any challenge to the existing arrangements are unwise and destabilizing. Dr. King understood that peace without justice was no peace at all; that aligning our reality with our ideals often requires the speaking of uncomfortable truths and the creative tension of non-violent protest.

But he also understood that to bring about true and lasting change, there must be the possibility of reconciliation; that any social movement has to channel this tension through the spirit of love and mutuality. 

If he were alive today, I believe he would remind us that the unemployed worker can rightly challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing all who work there.

Be inspired to believe in the "oughtness" of tomorrow rather than focusing on the "isness" of today.


  1. This is one of the little things that made it into the MOSS books for awesome girls. (Of which there is one for another awesome girl near to you). KL and I are doing our best to channel our "inner Patty" to make them successful!

  2. I hope you have a great week at Moss!