“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)
In four days, President Obama will leave office. Whether this creates joy or sadness in you, he will be remembered as our first Black President and as a two-term President of unquestionable integrity, honesty and incorruptibility.
With a new President-elect teed-up to take the oath of office who is a master of marketing, do we know what we’re in for? We know what he promised, and we know what he tweets; we even know who he has hired and nominated to be his right-hand men and women. But do we truly know his priorities?
No one can serve two masters. If you try, you will wind up loving the first master and hating the second, or vice versa. People try to serve both God and money—but you can’t. You must choose one or the other. (Matthew 6:24)
Our soon to be elected President is someone who takes offense easily. Some call him thin-skinned. If he was self-reflective, he might understand how people of color might have taken offense to his campaign monologues about inner cities, Mexicans and Muslims. (Trump tweeted recently, “How is ABC Television allowed to have a show entitled ‘Blackish’? Can you imagine the furor of a show, ‘Whiteish! Racism at highest level?”) He might understand how people with disabilities might have taken offense to his degrading treatment of a disabled reporter. Instead, it is all about him.
On the other hand, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. thought outside himself. He possessed Jesus-like compassion. He thought of the greater good. He was arrested and jailed for his belief in equal rights and equal justice. He was vilified, spat upon and called egregious names. He was the subject of unfair FBI witch hunts and the victim of smear campaigns. Through it all, he stood stately, a man of stature, and remained restrained, self-controlled and collected. He was grace under pressure. He stood for justice until the end.
Was Dr. King perfect? No. Did King know marketing? Absolutely. But he used his knowledge for the betterment of the country rather than the betterment of his own ego or wallet. Because of his leadership and his savvy use of media, there was forward movement in desegregation, voting rights, education rights and housing rights across the country.
The question before us is, will the new leadership of this country put themselves first and provide a continued model of bipartisanship and cyberbullying, or will we see a miraculous shift toward respect, compromise, kindness and caring for humanity?
“People are complicated. Societies and cultures are really complicated. These are living organisms and it’s messy. And your job as a citizen and as a decent human being is to constantly affirm and lift up and fight for treating people with kindness and respect and understanding. And you should anticipate that at any given moment there’s going to be flare-ups of bigotry that you may have to confront, or may be inside you and you have to vanquish.” President Barack Obama
To use President-elect Trump’s own word, if he turns out to be as “overrated” as some may fear, if he does not respond to the hopes of the many who voted for him, perhaps we all will turn to the Only True Hope – the Source of all creation. And conceivably we can turn our nation around for the good of all.