I know it’s important to think of Dr. King Jr. Day as a day of reflection on him. So let’s do that but not in the conventional way.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was not a pacifist. Not a peacenik. Not a guy your buddies could sit with and discuss social justice with and not see his eyes flash or know his pulse raced. He was a radical and a rabble rouser. He was a over and a shaker and he never settled for the status quo. It was not in his interest to see his people abused nor to allow the abuse to continue. His life was directed towards seeing the promise that the constitution was written about, made real in black America just as it was real for land owning whites.
Dr. King Jr. was like Jesus in the market. He turned over tables, shouted and caused a ruckus. He saw the marketplace of his community being ravaged by racism, unequal access, Jim Crow laws and legalized violence. He decided to overturn a few tables.
But it wasn’t until he went after the war and the economy that his life was taken. Oh yes, it was threatened and even almost lost at the end of a thruster knife. But it was not until that day he spoke out agar the war in Vietnam making it clear that he, like Muhammad Ali, didn’t believe it was right to send poor Americans to kill poor Vietnamese that his days became numbered. In fact it’s because he stood up for the poor in the way that really mattered, from an economic standpoint, that the power in America then and today started to sweat and shift uncomfortably in their plush leather seats.
So today, while you are making your dried out Christmas tree down, and contemplating the life you can lead today because of his sacrifice and so many others like him, pause and know that the world doesn’t change because of pacifists. It changes because of rabble rousers. Ruckus raisers. Trouble makers. Dissatisfied citizens. True disciples.