January 18

The Real Lesson from Martin Luther King Jr

Every year on Martin Luther King Day, I decide to put aside politics in order to reflect on the man who did so much to change our country. While politics continues to become increasingly divisive, it is important to take a day to remember the lessons from such a great man, and what this day really means to America.

Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech is a cornerstone in US history, and that is because it is an example of one of our core values. America was truly founded on a dream. The Founding Fathers dreamt of an independent country, no longer under the control of England, and fought to secure freedom. Locked in a room in Philadelphia for weeks, these men crafted the US Constitution, ensuring life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for every American. The most crucial part of this vision, was the power of the people. With a voice, with a vision, with a purpose, they believed that not the government, but the people, could write their own history, and progressively move forward in constant pursuit of our core values.
While our history has dark spots, it is from this foundation that we have been able to move forward, and should continue to move forward. Martin Luther King Jr truly had a dream for the African American community, and led a revolution through love. Although constantly attacked with hatred, with shame, with obstacles, his dedication to what is right changed a nation. One person’s dream slowly turned to a reality, a march on Washington, DC with thousands of Americans, who shared the same dream as this man.
The lesson from this day, where we celebrate a visionary, a true leader, is to remember our American values. It is to remember that change for the better can always be a reality, and the good will always conquer evil. Although the future may seem dark, if one person sees the light, and believes change is possible, it is.
At a time when so many Americans feel so disillusioned by politics, feel angry that the government let them down, feel like they have lost all hope, and that there is no room for positive change, think of this man and what he did for our country. Realize that because of our Founding Father’s and because of our democratic system, the change starts with you. It starts with you believing that every person is equal, and that every person has the right to live their own version of their American dream. While the approaches to how one ensures these rights may change, through conversation, through debate, through team work, through activism, through awareness, the end goal is the only part of the road that matters. And although there may be bumps, it is crucial for our country, and for the people who live here, to remember that every person’s dream has every possibility of becoming a reality.
Today, put down your party alliance, your own beliefs, and think of yourself as an American. Think of what you would like to see become better in our country, and what you would like to change for the better. I have a dream, like MLK’s, that love will always win, and that hate cannot overcome this power. The love for our country and for these ideals is an intrinsic part of all Americans, even if you have not felt it lately. So today, remember your pride, and think of our history. Think of this leader, who changed the world for the better, and then think of what you can do to change it too.