On this Martin Luther King weekend, and five days before the inauguration of Donald Trump as president of the United States of America, it is appropriate to focus on some of the main values which have made this country a leader in the emerging global community. My understanding is that, if we adhere to these values in word and in action, we will be able to handle the challenges that we will face in the next few years.
Dr. King believed in the equality of all races, cultures, and religions. He was willing to lead the movement for truth, love, and justice in order to achieve these goals, knowing full well that it would cost him his life. His way was the way of nonviolence, which was earlier taught and practiced by Mahatma Gandhi. We celebrate Dr. King’s life with a national holiday, and we also owe a major tribute to the life of Mahatma Gandhi for our present understanding of nonviolence and its power in achieving success in realizing the goals to which it is applied.
The most recent example of its application to social change was in Standing Rock, North Dakota, where a pipeline was about to be run through an Indian reservation without the permission of the Native Americans whose lives would have been affected in two ways, pollution of their water and the destruction of a number of their sacred sites. Through the use of nonviolence by the many Indian tribes, veterans, and numerous other American citizens, the pipeline has at least been put on hold.
The battle for the future of the USA is about to be tested again under Donald Trump’s presidency, and it may require even more intense application of nonviolence for the preservation of truth, love, and justice. The challenges which are likely to arise may be just what we have needed to show the meaning of “a force more powerful”.. Martin Luther King has shown the way in this country. Now it is up to the rest of us to carry the understanding forward in the days ahead.
Let’s look at some of the specifics. Trump has called for building a wall on our southern border to keep out “illegal” immigrants from Mexico and other Hispanic countries. He has also asked for a listing and possible deportation of Muslims because of their religion and possible connection with the troubles in the Middle East. Both of these actions are not going to solve the problem, and they are prejudicial and likely to cause much negative reaction. The use of nonviolent resistance may well be applied to these issues in order to keep the actions from being carried out. And, from what I have understood, these will be a number of other matters that should be dealt with as well.
Therefore, as we celebrate Dr. King’s life and work, may we focus on the current need for applying nonviolence to the issues we are facing in the United States and around the world.
Spirit is One; paths are many!