Yesterday, here in the United States of America, we remembered Martin Luther King Jr., the American Baptist minister who lead the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950's and 60's. Influenced by Mohandas Gandhi's non-violent manner, his involvement in the civil protests began in 1955, with the Bus Boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, and continued until the day he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968. Other than helping the end of segregation in buses, King pursued the end of segregation in public schools, the protection from police abuse, the acquisition of laws to prevent discrimination in employment, and the protection of voting rights for minorities. The Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, which led to him receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. The following is a quote from his acceptance speech:
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"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word."
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His words are as relevant today as they were back then. Although we have come a long way in this country, lately I believe we may be regressing. There is just so much division, misunderstanding, and senseless violence going on by all factions in our country.
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There's a plethora of reasons for our problems, but one of them is our deteriorating communication. With all the forms of communication available, we should be doing better. However, news outlets and social media are actually aggravating the situation.
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I value freedom of speech, but we need to be responsible when exercising this freedom. This is of utmost importance to the news media, from liberal to conservative, who are sometimes responsible for the spread of propaganda. Social Media aggravates the situation, because some people on both sides spread it, along with hateful commentaries.
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In my humble opinion I believe we need to scrutinize everything we read, as well as consider multiple sources of information. We need to consider multiple perspectives, and be aware that we can't believe everything that's out there. I also believe that we need to be careful with our words and practice the Golden Rule, as found in Matthew 7:12, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." If you don't agree with a political or other point of view, discuss it if appropriate, but don't use derogatory terms. The latter is hurtful to others and propagates further division. So yes, I believe in Martin Luther King's words, but it's going to take a conscious effort on our part to make it happen. Peace!