A couple days ago the nation commemorated Martin Luther King’s birthday, a day festooned with black and white images of drinking fountains, segregated restrooms, police dogs, and fire hoses. And of course all those dignified and devout people who on a good day endured only rudeness, snobbery, and condescension from their fellow Americans, and whose example shamed me when I remembered how put-upon I felt yesterday when I was cut off in traffic.
Martin Luther King’s birthday is a day of necessary and painful reflection. Because we must acknowledge the tragic paradox that this greatest, kindest, most generous country in history was and is capable of enormous cruelty to her very own children.
And what better time to acknowledge the scourge of groupthink, which causes the masses to tolerate and perpetuate the ugliest of human behavior.
For example, up until recently it was legal in America to drive steel into the brain of a partially born infant and then throw the lifeless body out with the trash.
Groupthink changes when the group is told to think differently by the powers that be in popular culture. Perhaps in a made-for-TV movie, a segment of Oprah, or an article in People Magazine. Until then, the masses will merely yawn at such things as impaled babies and bombed churches.
And only then do previously persecuted and ridiculed independent thinkers, like Martin Luther King, finally get the honor that they deserve.
Clearly, however, Martin Luther King wasn’t looking for personal glorification. He loved his people, but he also loved America, and he knew she was capable of doing better. This forgiveness for his imperfect country was a replication of Jesus’ love for all of us, the unconditional love as described in I Corinthians 13 – always protecting, always trusting, always hoping, and, always persevering.
Because Martin Luther King loved God, he harbored no bitterness and never gave up on America. That’s why “I Have A Dream” is one of American’s historical treasures – a profound and moving piece of American literature.
How fitting that it was delivered at the Lincoln Memorial, which has etched on its walls these words from Lincoln’s second inaugural address:
“Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’”
Abraham Lincoln fought the Groupthink of his time, but was only able to conquer it through bloody violence that ripped through our county for four long years.
The fact that Lincoln’s legacy and our country’s sacrifice was so carelessly squandered by his successor is one of the greatest tragedies in our history.
After Lincoln’s murder, the southern blacks were cheated out of their promised property, returned to the servitude of the whites, and thus sentenced to another century of apartheid-like bondage – until another man of courage and faith rose up and laid down his life for their freedom.
Hence, Martin Luther King, fought the Groupthink of his time. And unlike Lincoln he was able to conquer it peacefully – through patriotism, courage, and the firm unswerving faith that his fellow Americans to do better.
Then, like Lincoln, Martin Luther King’s legacy was squandered by his successors, who have conned many black people back into a different kind of bondage. The bondage of a lying Pied Piper who replaced their God with government and their fathers with a monthly check.
These Pied Pipers don’t see black Americans as Martin Luther King’s dignified devout people. They only see a Voting Bloc.
And the way to get all those votes is to keep the black Americans dependent on them.
America needs a new Martin Luther King. Someone of courage and faith who will tell politicians with promises on their lips and contempt in their hearts to stop marginalizing, picking open wounds, and dividing his people from the rest of America.
When a white teacher tells black children they should learn the culture of some corrupt, violent African country because it is their “heritage,” this leader will point out that while her ancestors were still wearing Lederhosen and dancing the polka in Europe, those kids’ forefathers were sweating and bleeding on the first foundational stones of this nation.
And then this leader will inform her that black Americans have more of a stake, more of an investment, more of a right to be called outright, unmodified, unhyphenated straight up, 100% Americans than any one else alive..
And it is my dream that this leader will once again lead a dignified and devout people out of bondage by restoring their families, their fathers, and their love of God and country.