It is the grim anniversary of the death of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Year 49. Please, spare me the golden anniversary celebration next year. I don’t want to hear what he could have been. “Gone too soon” does not begin to capture the depth of loss. He should not be gone at all.
All- powerful bullets took away prophetic power and a pastoral presence that we have not seen since. No, the Church’s focus is elsewhere. Look around. You will not find another leader like him there.
Don’t tell me that I am too young to understand. Don’t say that because I wasn’t alive to march with him that a part of me did not die upon hearing of his demise. He didn’t just have something to say to your generation but mine. Selfishly, I want to believe that he had something to say to me.
I carry a race-less gospel and I sure could use his advice on most days. While I am not facing water hoses or dogs, I am fighting against an administration that doubles as an occupation. In one election cycle, the political climate of our nation has changed. It has empowered and inspired hate groups to display more visibly and to say more vocally, “I hate. I hate. I hate.” Experiences that I had only read about are now front page news. From black and white to color and high- definition images, I am seeing the past repeated without commercial interruption. And if Trump’s Twitter feed is indication of what is to come, there will be no break.
I wish that Dr. King were here to point us to the mountaintop, to remind us that this valley of despair is not our home, that these words and experiences will have no lasting effect. Because we don’t need a politician– but a prophet. I want to hear him tell me about his dream. Yes, I can watch it on DVD but today, I want to hear him. But, I can’t– because of racialized rhetoric and the rage of one. Because it only takes one person, one gun, one shot. Bang and it is all over.
His home reopening yesterday seems like an invitation for us to pull up a chair and sit with his life’s work. My head is already down; perhaps, no one will see that I am not reading but weeping, not looking intently at his picture but gripped by fresh disgust. I hate this day and how I wish that it never would have happened.
No, we never met but I really do miss the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.