MLK: Hope, not hate, will win the day
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 16 January 2017, 14:07
Today is Martin Luther King Day.
It is a time when much of America, and the wider world, celebrates the brave commitment to peace that drove Dr King throughout his life – and, indeed, cost him that life.
During King’s era of the Civil Rights struggles America was a divided country. Today it is more divided than ever.
Donald Trump is about to take office. He has talked about ‘making America great again’, yet his rhetoric has not often matched such lofty ideals.
Just two days ago, the President-elect launched a disgusting attack on veteran civil rights hero John Lewis, tweeting that he was “all talk”, after Lewis said that Trump was not a legitimate president.
A long-serving Congressman, John Lewis is the last surviving speaker from the 1963 March on Washington, led by Martin Luther King.
He was savagely beaten by state troopers during the historic 1965 march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.
Like several other politicians, he has announced that he will not be attending Trump’s inauguration this Friday.
The UK, too, is grappling with division.
Economic anxieties, worries about immigration, our future relationship with the European Union, pressures on housing, the NHS and social care are all rising. Communities face unprecedented pressures.
Politicians from the radical right have leapt in to the void, seeking to exploit these fears for their own political ends. The rise of such right-wing populism has shaken the political core of Europe.
Its politics is deceptively simple and based on the ‘blame game’: pointing the finger at the elites, at the media, ‘liberals’, immigrants and minority communities, seeking to turn the clock back to a mythical “better age”.
Don’t give in
As with Dr King’s time, it can be easy to give in to despair. There were those who lashed out against change then. Who responded with violence to the call for equal rights.
To opt for the easy choice and turn on our neighbours is a fool’s quest. It is a race to the bottom.
Yet it can be easy to feel cowed.
Now more than ever it is important to remember Martin Luther King and redouble our efforts to challenge prejudice and hatred; to build a society fit for everyone.
So as we prepare to witness the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, I want you to reflect on Dr King’s famous words:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
2016 was a difficult year; 2017 will be a challenging one. But it will also be a year of hope.
Posted: 16 Jan 2017 | There are 0 comments
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