Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Day 135: Reflections on Martin Luther King Jr.


Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the U.S. I read a number of blog posts on the topic. I really enjoyed thinking about the messages from these:

-Good Grief Guru: Martin Luther King Jr. day, Errol Barrow day, and a call to action for Idle No More
-Buzzfeed: 17 Martin Luther King Jr. Quote You Never Hear
-Ignitum Today: Martin Luther King Jr. Hero and Prophet 

How can Martin (we're on a first-name basis) inspire us today? Using some of his famous lines from his I Have A Dream speech, I want to talk about the future I wish to see in Canada and around the world. I'll then look at a few of the "Never Heard" quotes from the link above and share a few thoughts.  Hopefully this won't turn too essay-ish.

Anyway, onward. Now is the time, for Canadians to question if democracy is being way-laid or upheld. Now is the time, for our society to become educated - and not just in a scholarly way but on the realities facing those living in Canada.

I have a dream, that poverty will be stricken, and all children will feel loved, and all people will have clean water and nourishing food. I have a dream, that easily eradicated disease will be gone from this earth, that suicides would be a thing of the past, that mental illness would not be stigmatized, that people would be valued for their existence and not measured by how they look, what their personality is, or what they do.

One hundred years later, will future generations look back on this day and wonder why we did nothing? How we allowed our country to be destroyed... Why we didn't protect our land, natural resources and waterways? Why we didn't fight for a true universal healthcare for ALL those living in Canada (Aboriginals and refugees and those living in rural communities)? One hundred years later, will our descendants be cleaning up the mess our generation failed to stop?

We can never be satisfied with the knowledge that we are able to do something as an individual to help someone (in this case many someones) and we choose to do nothing. We can never be satisfied with a government who knowlingly infringes on individuals human rights (government lawyer courageously blows the whistle)

With this faith I have, in God and in humanity, I believe that a better life, a better Canada, and a better world can exist. Will it be easy? Absolutely not. Is it idealistic to think this? I hope so.

Let freedom ring, in a triumphant win. What is freedom? I recently watch the Tom Cruise movie, Jack Reacher. In it, he comes back to America after "fighting for freedom" to see Americans who are living lives that aren't free. If we chose to be slaves to convention or social status, then we're chosing not to be free. As adults, we need to ask ourselves if we love the jobs we've chosen, or if they're a means to an end. Have we made a conscious decision on where to live and who to spend time with? Or is it an unconscious choice? How can we let freedom ring in Western culture, when even those who are considered "the most free" (namely the white middle/upper class males) are themselves locked in the chains of capitalism?

When will the day come when someone can shout we are free at last, free at last. And maybe equally important, how can we ensure that the freedom will last?

Well, this seems long enough! I'll look at the quotes over the upcoming weeks I think :)

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