Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Squandering Our Inheritance

By Jon Dunnemann


Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C.

Before long, it will be nearly fifty years since Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Have we gone so far as to squander our civil rights inheritance in that amount of time? Perhaps.

By now, America should have boldly ceased the opportunity to gain a global advantage in developing home grown champions of equal character, commitment, and compassion for others.

Instead, far to many at varying ages and across all socioeconomic levels have managed to become derailed, lost in obscurity or sidetracked by the encumbrance of disadvantage, the allure of fame and fortune or the flawed promises of personal power and influence while the larger and more persistent daily challenges, and struggles that repeatedly contribute to human suffering on the part of great numbers of people have remained, often becoming even more widespread.

Let us not be mistaken another day. Our generation was fully expected to carry forward the banner, the march, and the legislative vigor that would ensure a most progressive and improving level of democracy, equality, freedom, justice and peacekeeping.

Well, I think that it is fair to say that we have come up short on this aspiration so long held by the poor and the rising middle class alike. For this reason, we may want to again ask ourselves, do we still have the will and the desire to bring an untapped and added-value to what it means to be a citizen of the United States of America? And if so, what do we want the next phase in our nations future to look like? The answer does not lie in being told by others: media, politicians, pundits or the wealthiest individuals what this landscape should include. Rather, it is best born out of our most patriotic desires, a developing consciousness, and the diligent exercising of all of our rights as equal shareholders in this continuing great American experiment.

We have not yet run out of time nor have we suddenly run out of good ideas. However, we have missed the mark when it comes to sufficient and ongoing concentration, democratization, and participation by the most marginalized and unfairly victimized among us. This is something that we absolutely must throw ourselves more fully into by taking a few lessons from the abundant examples provided through the vast pages of the civil rights movement.

This economic, political, social, and religious state of affairs is not endemic to just the United States. All over the world the evidence is quite clear: maintaining ones human rights is like trying to preserve strong muscles; if you do not properly and regularly exercise them, then before long, you will most assuredly lose them.