For many of us there is a disturbing trend that has been a significant part of our country’s political climate. There is so much division, significant contempt, lack of civility and
the sense that there are too many barricades to ever recover. We hear story after story of hate and the potential threats to our country that are just frightening.
In a recent and very inspirational article by Christine McParland on The Arc website there is a reference back to the famous 1963 speech of Dr. Martin Luther King at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. It is many years dated but incredibly relevant and inspirational as we apply it to our current context in America. Here are some quotes from this article.
Today as we look back on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy, we look ahead to a presidential inauguration and the uncertainties of both the present and future. While we’ve made some progress towards seeking justice in the peaceful manner which Dr. King advocated, we still have a long way to go. In many ways, our country is more divided and broken than ever. Perhaps the wisdom of the past can help us handle the present; how can Dr. King’s words offer hope to Americans today? What can we learn from his famous address at the 1963 March on Washington to help us pursue peace in times of political turmoil?
“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred . . . Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”
Though Dr. King spoke specifically of the cause for black Americans’ civil rights, becoming bitter and hateful in the name of a cause is a temptation to any movement or political party. We all know what it’s like to be wronged and to feel justified in our anger. But Dr. King saw that hate and retaliation would ultimately hurt a cause rather than help it….
“Their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.”
In the quote above, Dr. King spoke of the necessity of unity between white and black Americans; injustice for one ultimately threatens justice for all. If this is true for Americans of varying racial backgrounds, is it no less true for those who come from different political backgrounds and opposite sides of the aisle?
The article continues to contextualize Dr. King’s speech to our current day of discord with some principles of Scripture that are so very important. It broadens our perception of how we could have hope to overcome this political divisiveness through a deeper understanding of our faith and love for one another, even those who would oppose us. I believe that we need a deeper level of spiritual impetus in order for us to overcome the hate and discord we are experiencing. Just like Dr. King we too have a dream of a unified nation!