Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It is important to remember those who fought for freedom as well as how they achieved what they achieved. With Donald Trump becoming President at the end of the week, many have begun to mobilize in defense of civil liberties. That is fantastic. We need people keeping an eye on the government and willing to do something about it when the time comes. Unfortunately, many of those same people have been blind to what President Obama has been doing with his 8 years in the presidency. Others have chronicled his many civil liberty violations, but that is not exactly what I want to discuss today. I would rather look at what MLK was fighting for and how that applies to the fight for freedom today.
“And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.” MLK, Dream Speech
“When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”” MLK, Dream Speech
We have a nation of immense potential that is often stifled by government in one way or another. MLK did not let the abuse of government cloud his view of the promise of America. He also recognized who rights applied to. He was not fighting for “Black” rights, he was fighting for Human rights for Black people. Many today seek to wield government to improve their group’s way of life. Gay rights, black rights, immigrant rights, men’s rights, women’s rights, etc. should all be seeking the same thing. “I am a human being and have the right to my life, to freedom, and to live my life in pursuit of my happiness without fear of government force.” Anything beyond that goal, is seeking to wield government over others and in doing so is a violation of others civil rights, thereby becoming the monster MLK was fighting against.
We who believe in the rights of all humans must be willing to call out all violations of those rights and hold the perpetrator responsible. If that is a white police officer using unnecessary force, that police officer needs to be held accountable. If it is a black police officer using extreme force, they need to be held accountable. If it is a white/black/asian/hispanic criminal using force against another individual, they need to be held accountable. If it is the first black President of the United States having citizens assassinated off the battlefield in a country we are not in a declared war with, we need to hold him accountable. If it is a reality TV star become POTUS who creates a Muslim registry, he needs to be held accountable. The violator does not change human rights. The human does not determine which rights they have. We are to be equal and I will continue to do my part to see that we are treated as such. I hope you will join me.
“And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”