Living Up to Dr. King’s Standards

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MLK holidayNow that the world has heard all the promises to keep Dr. King’s dream alive, to carry out his plan for peace and justice, and to ensure that his legacy remains untarnished and realized, let’s see how long we go before there’s another serious outbreak of violence, another grievous injustice delivered to Black Americans.
  
Some might say it’s already happened or happening. To expect that the guns will be turned in to advocates offering an exchange for dollars, to believe that young African Americans will suddenly stop the fratricide, to hope that there will be peace and harmony in Dr. King’s “beloved community,” is like Waiting for Godot or the tooth fairy.

All the platitudes are summoned around this time of the year, much like New Year’s resolutions; many of them are made with not an iota of sincerity, not a moment of genuine interest in living up to Dr. King’s high standards of credibility or sacrifice.

True, there are a few gallant souls who have the greatest intention of fulfilling portions of the dream, but they are a tiny minority who by their example may impact some impressionable minds, some young people willing to put forth an attention span longer than a twitter submission.

Dr. King was a devout follower of the great Mahatma Gandhi, an ardent proponent of nonviolent disobedience who, ironically like Dr. King, was assassinated. What Dr. King learned from Gandhi were strategies for change, a way to wear down the resistance of the oppressor. Those tactics, for the most part, were invoked and practiced relentlessly against what Gandhi called the Seven Deadly Social Sins. 
1.    Politics without principles.  The sundry of politicians without an inch of principles are countless in our society.  And they proliferate like cockroaches.
2.     Pleasure without conscience.  How many of your friends can be listed among this number who in their quest for pleasure have little regard for the feelings of others?
3.    Wealth without work.  Far too many of the rich and famous in America have never worked a moment for their accumulation of wealth, often exploiting those who actually work at the point of production.
4.    Commerce without morality.  Malcolm X used to say:  “Show me a capitalist and I’ll show you a bloodsucker.” 
5.    Education without character.  Dr. King often stressed the importance of one’s “content of character,” and we can’t necessarily depend on our deplorable education system to supply this.
6.    Science without humanity.  Too often the mindless pursuit of scientific advancement is done at the expense of humanity.
7.    Worship without sacrifice.   Each of us must give a little without waiting to get something in return.

To this list I would add commitment without perspective and life without love. If those promise makers can only eliminate one of the deadly social sins, they will be better off and the world a better place.