American – African American – Hawaiian – Kenyan – Citizen of the World –
How could I let today pass without a posting?
I won’t write at length now – because I remember my New Year’s resolution about keeping my effusions a little shorter.
But today – we witnessed a man – from what many may have described as improbably unlikely circumstances – for all kinds of reasons – become the 44th President of the United States of America.
The lessons of my life have not – how shall I say – inclined me to be an optimist.
But today – I did sense that we were witnessing something which contained and emitted immense potential.
As regular readers will know – I always warn against the cult of the personality.
Just as I make no secret of my atheism.
My customary warning to people concerning politicians is – always regard them as guilty – until proven innocent.
But – even I – political pessimist – can’t help but admit some gleamings of optimism given the great potential we see for unity, peace and respect for differences in Barrack Obama taking the Office of President.
I speak plainly – he couldn’t have come to Office at a more demanding time. So many things – going so badly wrong – across the world.
President Obama is a man – not some kind of superhuman. I’ve no doubt he will give of his absolute best – but we must not burden him with wholly unrealistic demands and expectations.
The need for great leadership is there – and he possesses as great a quantity of the right qualities in a leader as we could possibly wish for.
But unless people will set aside the toxic hatreds, mindless self-interests and willing ignorance which have come to characterise Western society in recent decades – no matter what attributes President Obama possesses – we will not succeed in making a better world.
The Western world now has a leader who chimes with not only his fellow Americans – but with the poor, oppressed and dispossessed across the world.
An empathy which can only be good for America – as well as the rest of us.
He is a mere human being – but one who carries with him huge potential.
He will do his very best.
But the decision – and the burden – as to whether we – humanity – succeed or fail – lies with all of us – not just Barrack Obama.
So – to remind ourselves of the values that matter – who could we better refer to than Dr. Martin Luther King?
A great man – who didn’t reach the summit with us – but who cut the trail – and made the ultimate sacrifice for challenging hatred.
If I am wrong in my atheism – And Dr. King looks down upon the events of today – he will surely be feeling pride in the name of love.
Here are some of his words.
QUOTES OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING.
“Cowardice asks the question, “is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” And vanity asks the question, “Is it popular?” But Conscience asks the question – “Is it right?” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular – but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.”
“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
“The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.”
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
“At the centre of non-violence stands the principle of love.”
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamour of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”
“Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.”
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
“The time is always right to do what is right.”
All above quotes from Martin Luther King.