Imagine the world very different from the one we know. A world that benefitted from the full effect and influence of great minds like John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King. Men of principle and honor who were taken from this world long before their time. Though they have each left an indelible mark on society, imagine if they had survived and reached their full potential. This brings us to the first query in this continuing series. Have you ever wondered–what if Martin Luther King Jr. had lived?
It is not an easy question to answer, but an important one to address on the historic leader’s birthday. The Civil Rights patriarch preached civil disobedience and nonviolence to legions of followers who shared his dream as well as his vision for a brighter, more just future. This crusade garnered him the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize and international acclaim. The fact that he lived and died for his cause at an assassin’s hand is the ultimate irony.
We must learn to live together as brothers
or we will perish together as fools
—Martin Luther King
While many people choose to debate how he died, I think it is important to discuss how he lived, the lessons he fought for, and what he might have achieved if he had lived. For instance, if Martin Luther King Jr. had lived, would racism still exist today? While it is true that we have come a long way as a society, racism remains an undercurrent in our culture. Just look at the way our Commander-in-Chief is treated. President Barack Obama made history when he became the 44th President of the United States and the first African-American to hold the office in 2008, which was four decades after the assassination of Dr. King. However, the derogatory remarks and vitriol directed at him are unparalleled.
In my four decades on Earth and counting, I never remember a president being treated with such disrespect. The comments that are lobbed at him are shameful. Moreover, most offenders do not even seem remorseful. Whether it is an irate constituent or elected representative, they feel entitled to let the insults fly at our current world leader without a second thought. Would they be so brazen if the current President of the United States was a white man? As a white woman, I am applauded and ashamed of my own race.
Then, there are all the accusations about Obama being a Muslim. Really? Despite all the deceitful, illegal, and paranoid behavior exhibited by Richard Nixon, our 37th President of the United States, and his Watergate Scandal, which resulted in his resignation from office to avoid impeachment, I never remember “Tricky Dicky” being labeled as a communist, even when he successfully opened communications with and traveled to China. Please do not even get me started on the birthright issue. It is beyond ridiculous!
If Rev. King had lived, I doubt it would have taken 40 years for the first African-American to reach the White House. Many have speculated that King himself might have been a potential presidential candidate if he had survived. If not, I am sure the indefatigable preacher would have found many other causes and concerns to occupy his time. As evidenced in his 1964 “I Have a Dream” speech, the warrior among men had a righteous cause and many dreams to fulfill. We will likely never know what our world would be like if Martin Luther King Jr. had lived, but it is nice to imagine the world with that amount of potential realized. Stay tuned to Guardian Liberty Voice for more articles in my continuing series, If They Had Lived.
Opinion and Blog Written & Edited by Leigh Haugh
Personal Observations and Opinions of the Author
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