A lot of things in mind today. First of all, Happy Birthday Dr. King – once again! So grateful for the work that he did moving Black people along. Unfortunately, his dream has become a dream deferred, but that does not mean that it is not possible for this society to get better. We just have to continue to believe and continue to do the work.
Another thing I’ve been thinking about has been mortality. So far this year we’ve lost Natalie Cole, David Bowie and Alan Rickman, just to name a few. As I went back through their albums and movies it occurred to me that though they are no longer physically here and we will never get anything new from them, they have left legacies that will never truly let them die. Every time I play Natalie’s Inseparable album, David’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, or watch one of the Harry Potter movies with Alan Rickman, they live on in a real way. They will continue to touch lives with their work even though they are no longer here. We all grew up on them and I’m sure we’ll introduce our children to them and they will go on and on. That’s what it means to create a strong body of work. You only ever really physically die, but so much of you, the best of you, gets to go on.
Just as we continue to celebrate Dr. King. In 2 years it will be 50 years since he was assassinated and yet in many ways he continues to be as alive as ever. Sure, many misquote him and misrepresent his ideas, but he continues to be a symbol of change and the possibility that exists when we come together and do the hard work. It’s especially important as this is an election year. So many people will swear that their votes don’t matter, but of course they don’t if you don’t cast them. A part of growing up is taking responsibility for yourself and that extends to a lot of things. No matter what you pay taxes and it’s crazy to sit around and wonder or complain what’s happening with those dollars when you can have a say in where they go. You’ll complain when affected by different policies and you see the corruption, but you won’t go out and do anything about it. We still have a long way to go, but with all that people like Dr. King did for us to have a space in this country, it seems ungrateful to sit by and allow the wrong people to control our destiny. If voting didn’t matter, Republicans wouldn’t have gutted the Voting Rights Act and continue to push to make it more difficult for us to vote.
We have to do better. It’s not enough to honor Dr. King with posts on social media. We must honor his work with our own. We make all his hard work meaningless if we allow it to be undone. We have to make sure we’re registered and get out there and vote. Otherwise we will keep going backward. Politics can be so ugly and make it look like progress is impossible, but it won’t be made better by not at least trying to make your voice heard. How can this really be a true democracy if only half of eligible voters actually vote? We have to do better. We could do anything if we understood our power and used it. The same power we had to sweep President Obama to victory both times, we can use now. Have you seen the GOP candidates? They are the literal worst. We have to go out in numbers and keep them out of the White House. I shudder to think what we’ll get if we don’t. Another Bush? I’d be trying to make a run for the border.
I know for myself I’m ready to feel the Bern. Bernie Sanders was very active in the Civil Rights Movement with Dr. King. He has a lot of incredible things to say and against all odds he is giving Hillary a run for her money. I believe in his message, but even if you don’t, whoever you vote for just vote. Unless you trying to vote Republican, then stay at home. I’m kidding. For real though we have to take matters into our own hands. Of course we won’t be represented if we don’t take an active role in who is representing us. It makes me physically sick to think of who is running Congress right now. We have to vote for our president and vote in the mid-term elections. The sad fact is politicians only care to represent who they think are paying attention. If we actually vote and give a couple dollars to the cause (And I do mean a couple) then we can have a hand in making change. In 2008 the mantra was yes we can, not yes Obama can. We have to get involved.
Speaking of, I am very sad to be going into the last year of the Obama administration. It makes me feel like it’s the end of an era. I remember sitting on the floor in front of my TV and crying when they announced that he was elected and watching as he, Michelle, and the girls took the stage. It made anything seem possible. It made Dr. King’s words more than just words. It felt like a reality. Now President Obama is on the way out. On the one hand I’m sad for us, but I’m happy for him and his family. They have been through hell over these last 8 or more years. People have been so cruel and I’m glad they made it out unharmed. Still, I can’t help but wish that he could pull a Franklin D. Roosevelt and stay for a few more terms. But we must move on. Hopefully we get the same enthusiasm we had 8 years ago. Rest in peace to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his amazing wife Coretta. Who knows where we would be without the work done in their time? There wouldn’t be a President Obama to be sad to see go.