I usually start my blog with some joke or some humor. I'm also not going to start with any of Dr. King's quotes. There are many, but everyone is doing that today. It's a lazy way in my opinion to begin a piece on a great man and a great American. Instead I want to ask a simple question. It's this: Would Martin Luther King, Jr. be proud of America today?
I'm asking this question because as I listen to the media and read the newspapers on this important day, most still focus on what is wrong with America since his assassination in 1968. I contend he would be proud as well as disappointed if he were alive today.
He would certainly be proud that America elected a Black president. In fact, if Pres. Obama had only received the Black vote, he would have lost in a landslide. He won, because he won a majority of the white vote. During Dr. King's lifetime the outpouring of support for a black political candidate (and there were conspicuous by their absence) by white voters would have been unheard of.
He would be proud that many African-Americans have done so well in realizing the American Dream he himself put forth with better paying jobs, integrated schools, more opportunities in higher education and achieving the American Dream of home ownership. In fact many of the richest people on earth today are Black as evidenced by many in the entertainment and sports industry, politics and the business community. With few exceptions, that too was unheard of during his lifetime. How surprised do you think Dr. King would be if he knew the richest woman on the planet was black?
And, yes, he would also be disappointed and saddened. He wouldn't be happy with the state of many of the public schools in America where many children are underachieving and surrounded daily by violence and mayhem. He would certainly be disappointed with the high rate of unemployment in the black community largely due to the current state of the economy (although black unemployment has historically always been higher than that of the white population). He would most certainly be disappointed at the high rates of black on black crime in most of America's urban areas, especially murder. I'm also certain the breakdown of the black family would shock Dr. King. And as Allen West himself said recently, "If Dr. King were to come back and see what has become of the black community, he would be appalled..." (West cites some of the very things I've cited above).
Yes, I believe Dr. King would be more proud of America than the America he experienced during his lifetime. He would also be disappointed. But I don't believe he would be disappointed as much with America as he would be with the lack of sincere and committed leaders in the black community of today. The current leadership, in my opinion, are just a bunch of whiners, complainers and enablers. I am certain Dr. King would not have tolerated many of these fake, phonies and frauds. He said himself, "A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus." When you read much of his writings, King himself wrote a lot about self-reliance in addition to tolerance, civil rights and the lack of opportunities for black Americans at the time.
Returning to my question: Would Dr. King be proud of America today? Absolutely he would. But he'd also remind all of us, including the black community, we still have to do more. And it's not because America is a bad place. In fact, it's just the opposite. Unlike most other countries in the world, America faces its problems head on and tries to solve them. We most also keep a very important fact in mind: No country on earth---in history---has made greater strides in human dignity than America has---not one. And that, I'm sure, would put a smile on Dr. King's face.
Allow me to leave you with one of my favorite Dr. King's quotes: "Never succomb to the temptation of bitterness."