Do The Right Thing, for Martin’s Sake

Do the heart thing, for Martin’s sake

Martin Luther King Jr.

This Monday, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 90th birthday, please stop, reflect, and then do all you can to make the world better. I don’t know what that might look like for you but I suspect there’s at least one thing you can do immediately to leave the world better than you found it.

Dr. King has been called a “drum major for justice,” and his fight for love, justice and equity are legendary but as it was more than 50 years ago when his life was cut short, this isn’t a one-man or one-woman fight. We all have to pull in the same direction, at the same time, to move the ball forward. The King Holiday’s mantra “A day on, not a day off,” is aptly named and I can only imagine what our world could/would look like if…

Each of us took time to meet a new neighbor and show genuine concern. It’s always interesting when something happens and the interviews with the neighbors usually go like this: “I didn’t know them well. They kept to themselves.” The neighbors we had during my childhood cared about each other and the neighborhood’s children. They knew our ages, grades, hopes, and dreams, and the village they provided kept me safe and made me who I am.  Please, at least know what your neighbors look like so you can speak when you see them on the street, at church, or at the grocery store. (If you get your groceries delivered and you don’t go to church, just pretend.) They’re probably a lot like you!

We spoke up for the little people. Philosopher Edmund Burke was right: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good *people to do nothing.” I contend you always know what’s right–whether you choose to do it is the color of another horse. We must stand up for right, fight for right, advocate for right, and do it at all costs because we see what happens when lying, cheating, and treachery become the norm. I took civility for granted—it’s what we do to live in harmony with others–but now as I listen to the foul language, the lack of respect for others, and the do-whatever-it-takes to get-elected ads these days, I know that some of us good people must be asleep at the wheel. Please, if you can, explain how Congress and the president receive a paycheck and great benefits when more than 800,000 federal workers aren’t being paid or allowed to work. This government dysfunction is unacceptable and we good people must keep saying so and insist that the government be reopened immediately. They can fight at their own expense.

We keep fighting for right, for justice, for affordable housing, for an end to homelessness, for our children and seniors, and for dignity for all. Every time you go to your warm home, sleep in your nice, clean bed, take a shower with hot water, and put on fresh clothes, don’t just think about those who don’t have these luxuries, do something about it. Volunteer, share, agitate, help build a Habitat home, donate your time, resources, or gently worn clothes to help someone get back on their feet—just do it, as the Nike commercial says! Remember, Dr. King gave his all to make a difference. Will you?

*Good men is the original text

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