by Mark Hayes
Remember The Lessons Learned, This King Holiday
Sorry I’m not sorry.
I just can’t relate to this kind of hatred and fierce opposition to a more inclusive
United States of America. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, “We must learn
to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” Truer words of Dr. King
have never echoed more loudly as we arrive at the Dr. King Holiday weekend.
In the meantime, the threat of Domestic terrorism from Right Wing extremists has
ramped up beyond a fever pitch. Even the most militant of African American thought
leaders, street corner prophets and the wokest of woke brothers and sisters could
have never imagined, we’d be bracing for a potential civil war. But we are witnessing it in real-time and we are literally frozen in disbelief.
But as we honor the man who refused to bow in the face of violence we are now
staring at a heavily fortified Nation’s capital. After witnessing the violence of Jan.
6, we are now screaming from the hilltops to anyone who will listen, “Donald Trump
is and will continue to be an existential threat to black and brown America.” But he
is also a threat to civilized America.
So ironically, on the day we celebrate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we pray for peace and for cooler heads to prevail. We hope and pray there is a way to calm the thousands of rabid “White Supremacists” will figure out another way to deal with their hatred of a changing and culturally
I’m reminded of another quote from Dr. King, which makes me wonder if he’s seen all
this already. “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant,” he advised.
What we are all praying for right now is the defeat of evil. We know
that Dr. King would not have approved of this sort of disruption, that goes without
saying, but we as Black Americans all understand that and wonder why white America
hasn’t learned from any of the teachings and philosophy of Dr. King.
I often wonder, what makes you so hateful that you drive a car into a crowd of people in
Charlottesville or march through the city screaming, “Jews will not replace us!” I mean
what did you miss in history class when they discussed Dr. King and his nonviolent
legacy. We often debate the polar opposite approaches of Dr. King and Malcolm X, but
when push comes to shove, most sensible folks realized that taking over the Federal
government or even the smallest of state capitals, was not a viable option.
When we look at the insurrectionists and this riotous mob, we heard how they really felt,
using the N-word over and over again at the Capitol Police Officers and if we didn’t
know before, we know now that the tie that binds all these domestic terrorists, is the fact
that they are joined at the hip in their hate of black and brown Americans and all other
ethnicities and cultures that they don’t know anything about or have been taught to
loathe. I’ll tell you what they have some nerve, because my parents grew up in the
segregated south and talk about “hate whitey” or “don’t trust white people.” We never
heard our parents speaking in a derogatory manner about any other culture, that’s not
how we’re built, and I guess that’s what unnerves us about the President working a mob
into a frenzy to go try and hang the Vice President.
All through my formative years in grade school right up until high school, my parents
required me to bring to school their scrap book with all the headlines from Dr. King’s
assassination to other prominent headlines from the Civil Rights Movement in the late
60’s. And while I remember my teachers allowing me a few minutes to present, I got
mostly crickets from my classmates, with very few questions. As I look back, I shouldn’t
be surprised. I guess I’m surprised that his lessons weren’t discussed in their homes,
but I know good and well this should not be a surprise.
The only logical conclusion we can draw is that those lessons Dr. King taught so many
of us, have obviously never been received or taken seriously by a large portion of white
America. After all, more than 74 million people voted for him, getting only small
numbers of votes from non-white voters, so we know that hate is the great unifying rally
call for what we are seeing. Something that flies in the face of every word Dr. King ever
uttered. He taught us kindness and compassion even in the face of fire hoses, dogs
and night sticks. He taught us to love our white brothers in sisters while he sat in prison
for demanding fairness and equality under the law. He taught us patience while we
yearned to be part of the democratic process through participating in elections.
Somehow all these lessons got lost in translation, and fueled by the big lie–we are
staring down the barrel of a full-fledge coup attempt. Their major irritation was the fact
that so many black and brown voters flat out objected to the man that made America
hate again, this time all out in the open.
I know 2021 presents far too many challenges to engage in face to face service and
missions, but there are so many ways we can serve. I look back at my parents service,
simply engaging me and my brother to help us understand the meaning and
significance of Dr. KIng. So in keeping with what I learned in the home, I will celebrate
this Dr. King holiday in 2021 by sharing those lessons with my grandsons and by trying
to uplift our youth the same way Dr. King did and pushing them forward with love and
kindness in their hearts. For we know the true power of love and faith and kindness and
compassion. Almost all of us have witnessed in some form or another. And if each one
teaches one, we can begin to create a kinder gentler community, and the good Lord
knows we could use that when dealing with each other.
So let us move forward, in the name of Dr. King. While we remain bloody but
unbowed, let’s keep our hearts full of faith and hope as we continue to lift each other
and our community in the process. It’s what the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
would have wanted, while we watch our brother and deal with their own personal
reckoning, and what lies deep in their hearts. I truly believe better days are ahead
and I’m going to stay focused on the positive aspects of our society as we look for
opportunities to bridge the gap. Let’s help those who may not be familiar with who
we are, gain a better understanding of who we are and what we can all be together0