Recently, the United States celebrated the birth and legacy of one of the most notable leaders in the history of human rights, Martin Luther King Jr. Although I was very young and did not understand the concept of racial bigotry, I remember watching his "I've got a dream..." speech vividly as I was sitting in front of our black and white television marveling at the huge crowds who had gathered to hear the impassioned man speak. As I got older, I often find that speech bringing tears to my eyes with the lines: "We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force."
When we celebrate a person who has made such a dynamic shift in the consciousness of the planet, I will often find myself wondering about their soul's mission on the earth. When I look at King, it seems that this evolved being's assignment was to open up the hearts and minds of the world to the gross intolerance and injustices directed at people in the United States who just happen to be a different color. Although his work centered on inequality and injustice, it also spoke volumes for all types of intolerance. It is unfortunate that as I post this, I look at the world today and think that King's message may need to be studied yet again. Our human society is much too eager to embrace the notion that "You are different from me," as opposed to "We are all the same."
As a believer in reincarnation, I accept as true the notion that we are all souls having a human experience. We all want the same thing: love and acceptance and respect. But the outer shells that we use on planet Earth look and act differently from each other and that presents challenges and obstacles such a racism, sexism and homophobia. King had a dream that one day his children would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. But if you look around the world today, that dream has not become a reality. Mr. Obama gave a heartfelt interview in The New Yorker recently where he accepts that there are people out there who just don't like him because of the color of his skin. The only thing that makes me sadder about his belief in that comment is that there are pundits accusing him of using the "race card."
As a gay man, I am disturbed by the recent comments of Russia's President Putin equating homosexuality with pedophilia. I have celebrated with most Americans the recent strides made by the LGBT community at home but saddened that the hatred being expelled from the U.S. is finding its way to Africa and Russia. That a human can be judged solely on who they love boggles my mind. My dream during this MLK week is that someday we will all embrace The Golden Rule. Treat others as you would like to be treated. It seems so easy but so difficult to achieve. I truly believe that the main enemy we humans have is ignorance. To quote one of my personal icons, Helen Keller: "The highest result of education is tolerance."
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