Op-ed submission by Project 21
Had he not been cut down in his prime, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would now be 84 years old. He was undeniably a beacon of hope and a pillar of light in the midst of the dark and evil times in which he lived.
Dr. King inspired many people, including me, to dream and persevere despite the challenges and obstacles that may easily seem to surmount us. Looking upon the accomplishments, courage and wisdom of Dr. King, I ponder about how he might view America if he were still alive today.
As our nation continues to see the downward spiral in the economy, class warfare driven by political elites and an insufferable secular agenda promoted by the media and Hollywood, there is definitely a valid reason to want to lose faith in humanity.
To me, Dr. King envisioned the bigger picture when he said: “If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.”
I like the analogy of being a drum major. A drum major is the leader of a marching band and is responsible for commanding the ensemble regarding where to march and what is played.
Today, I strive to embrace Dr. King’s agenda and march toward morality, righteousness, purity and leadership. Our culture these days is too entrenched in sexuality, individualism, greed and selfishness. We are in desperate need of a voice that will not only impact today’s youth, but will also affect generations to follow.
As a drum major, perhaps I can create a new beat to replace the current refrain of complacency, indolence and apathy. I wish to create a beat that strikes to the rhythm of hope and redemption. I wish to instill hope for a better tomorrow, a brighter future and salvation for past failures and mistakes.
It is very easy to highlight the failures of modern-day society, but it takes a compassionate heart to advocate redemption and a fresh start to one’s life. Dr. King’s view of faith still echoes amongst us today. For it is Dr. King who once said: “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
Maybe you’re an individual who has to work two or three jobs to make ends meet. Perhaps you’ve just had the unfortunate experience of losing a job. Maybe you’re a recent college grad who’s had to move back home with mom and dad because you couldn’t find a job and there were no resources to meet your needs. Whatever the case may be, step out in faith and let God fight the battles.
We do not know all the answers to the mysteries of life, but we can find refuge and strength in Almighty God, knowing that He will supply our every need. He will not abandon us, even when our faith is feeble.
Dr. King also had a wise approach to politics. He simply stated: “I feel someone must remain in the position of non-alignment, so that he can look objectively at both parties and be the conscience of both, not the servant or master of either.”
At a time when politics and philosophy are causing disarray and deconstruction, we all, myself included, have become saturated with our own ideology. We have neglected, at times, accountability and honesty in our debates. It is easy to be passionate about our beliefs and convicted in our principles, but we become blinded by the deceit and vanity that is displayed on all sides of the political spectrum.
Let us become visionaries of change, not disciples of blind loyalty. I truly believe the political discourse can be solved when we encourage ourselves and our peers to be better, even the ones who claim to be on our side. I believe that Dr. King would agree with me when I say that being on our Creator’s side protects us from fallacy.
Thank you, Dr. King, for reminding us to look at the bigger picture.
Demetrius Minor is a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network and co-host of the BlogTalkRadio show “He Said, She Said” with Project 21 member Stacy Washington.