TALK TO THE DADDY

Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The MLK holiday, the gift of Dr. King

"We commemorate Dr. King’s inspiring words, because his voice and his vision filled a great void in our nation, and answered our collective longing to become a country that truly lived by its noblest principles. Yet, Dr. King knew that it wasn’t enough just to talk the talk, that he had to walk the walk for his words to be credible. And so we commemorate on this holiday the man of action, who put his life on the line for freedom and justice every day, the man who braved threats and jail and beatings and who ultimately paid the highest price to make democracy a reality for all Americans." --Coretta Scott King on the MLK holiday

The gift of Dr. King
by Mac Walton, aka, MacDaddy

On this holiday, we won’t fly home, sit at mom’s kitchen table and eat grits, scrambled eggs and sausage-- hot sauce and butter on the grits. On this holiday, we won’t run downstairs to pull gifts out from under a tree and discover, once again, a toy too noisy, a sweater too small, a tie too bright. Hey, on this day, we won’t even get a fruitcake to feed to the birds outside our back door. No, this is a special day; and on this day we will travel to a different place, a place closer physically but perhaps far more distant spiritually than we like to admit. We will go inside ourselves to access a gift we have long ago received-- the legacy of political struggle and personal courage as exemplified in the inspirational action and prophetic words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

A gift of compassion

Once inside, once we begin to reflect, we’ll be struck immediately by Dr. King’s keen understanding of and deep compassion for those who came from a different race or class than he. This is no small feat for a Black middle-class minister from a region of the United States – the South— where intolerance toward Jews and Catholics and the use of the bible to rationalize the disenfranchisement of Blacks was an every-day affair at breakfast in small-town cafes and on dark roads at night.

Dr. King spoke of love and justice for all people, regardless of race, class or religious denomination, referring to them as “Brothers and Sisters.” He referred to his role in this work with humility, saying he was just a “drum major for justice” trying to “do God’s will.” When reporters mentioned that it was many of these same “brothers and sisters” who were trying deny justice to his people, who hurled bottles and bricks at them as they marched, he just smiled and said that America’s changing economy was leaving some "our white brothers and sisters behind." Further, he noted, this was the first generation of poor whites to realize that they would not be as well off as their parents.

A gift of faith

Dr. King left us a legacy of unwavering faith in the American republic and us, Americans. Even after being arrested over 30 times, harassed by the IRS, spied upon by the FBI, tracked for assassination by white racists, and increasingly criticized by some whites for opposing the war in Vietnam, he still clung to a basic faith in the United States of America and all of us. His basic prescription for justice was always a small dose of nonviolence and a large dose of hope.

The truth behind the faith

Those who knew Dr. King felt that this hope and faith was not just a personal prayer but a political necessity. Dr.King himself said as much. In “Where Do We Go From Here?” he wrote:

“…Revolution, though born of despair, cannot long be sustained by despair.The Negroes’ disappointment is real and is part of the daily menu of our lives. One of the agonizing problems of human experience is how to deal with disappointment.In our individual lives we all too often distill our frustration into an essence of bitterness, or drown ourselves in the deep waters of self-pity, or adopt a fatalistic philosophy that whatever happens must happen and all events are determined by necessity.

He continued:

“These reactions poison the soul and scar the personality, always harming the person harboring them more than anyone else. The only healthy answer lies in one’s honest recognition of disappointment even as one clings to hope, one’s acceptance of finite disappointment even while clinging to infinite hope.”

A gift of vision

In 2009, despite the first African American president, America is beset with an economy that, though struggling, still rewards the rich and punishes the poor; a nation with 47 million uninsured, countless hungry, homeless and hopeless; and two wars abroad whose guns, planes and tanks steer much-needed resources to abroad and drain off resources to deal with our problems at home.Despite oppression at home, Dr. King was one of the first American leaders to point out this connection.

We know of his vision of Black children joining hands with White children to sing in that ole gospel hymn, “Free at last, free at last, thank god almighty, we’re free at last.” But he left us with an even more endearing vision that speaks to his belief in this country to one day be free and in those of us left behind to make it so:

One Day

Children from India will ask:
"What is hunger?"
Children from Alabama will ask:
"What is racial segregation?"
Children from Hiroshima will ask:
"What is the atomic bomb?"
Children at school will ask:
'What is war?"

You will tell them:

"Those words are not used any more.
Like stagecoaches, galleys or slavery.
They are words no longer meaningful.
That is why they have been
Removed from the dictionaries.”

Happy traveling.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. McDaddy, this is a nice story. Are you writing a book on him?

Christopher said...

Oh, Daddy!

Can you even imagine how proud Dr. King would to see Barack Obama sworn in as America's 44th president?

I can see the smile on his face and the joy in his heart!

Jimmy said...

Great read today MacDaddy,
Very inspirational indeed.

MacDaddy said...

Jimmie: Thank you, sir.
Anon: No, I'm not writing a book on Dr. King. But he is one of heroes.
Christopher. If Dr. King came back to earth, I'm sure he would disappointed about the relative lack of progress we have made on certain issues, such as poverty, violence, the numerous African American and Latino males in prison and our propensity toward war. But, yes, he would be very pleased about the "O" man.

And the old guard civil rights leaders like Rev. Jessie Jackson should be very please too. But sometimes ego gets in the way, doesn't it?

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Wow! I never read that "One Day" part of his speech. I see it not as utopia-istic, but inspirational, and something for humanity to strive for.

Great post. Thanks, Mac.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Great post Daddy. Thanks for that.
I am so filled with hope today. I just have the feeling that we are on the verge of greatness. . . all of us.
No, I'm not delusional or unrealistic, just feeling the love and the hope and I'm gonna savor it for a while.

judy said...

wow. thank you for writing this. THIS is what i needed to read TODAY; it's what i'll be thinking about tomorrow.

Nun in the Hood said...

Dear MacDaddy,
This is a masterful piece and it captures the spirit and the reality of what this DAY is all about....Have you thought of writing a book about him????
I just hope that all of your writing is archived on your blog...What a LEGACY!
I'm off to participate in NATIONAL SERVICE DAY....

Nun in the Hood said...

Dear MacDaddy,
This is a masterful piece and it captures the spirit and the reality of what this DAY is all about....Have you thought of writing a book about him????
I just hope that all of your writing is archived on your blog...What a LEGACY!
I'm off to participate in NATIONAL SERVICE DAY....

CurvyGurl ♥ said...

Powerful!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mac! {waves}

Thank you for sharing this remarkable piece!

Tomorrow I will be going downtown to be among the throngs who are celebrating Obama's inauguration!

You should see how many elderly black people are being carried off of charter buses... my eyes started watering when I saw the buses pulling up in front of the White House and elderly black people with their walkers and wheel chairs wiping their eyes and posing for photos with tourists who didn't even KNOW them! Everyone realizes that some of these elders had great-great grandparents who were freed slaves. They are wrapped up in homemade quilts and blankets and enduring this cold and people are welcoming them...it's just so touching Mac.

I saw a group of them standing together with their arms raised in the air to pose for a photo! Many people ran over to them to capture that moment with them. I wish I had brought a camera with me. My cell phone battery was dying at that time.

There was a free concert for MLK with Aretha Franklin at Kennedy Center so a lot of them seemed to have battled the crowds to be part of that.

This day means so much more to our elders than it has to me and I am really seeing just how deeply this victory has touched them.

I wish I could live blog but they will not permit laptops anywhere on the grounds...they don't even permit strollers.

Even the waterfront is closed and boats can not come to the shore. They are really tight with security.

Black folks waiting in line outside of the Kennedy Center for the free Aretha concert started singing old spirituals. Impromptu! You should just see the look in the eyes of our people who came here for this moment of history.

There was even some elderly white man standing on a corner with holding up a sign apologizing to the blacks of America on behalf of white and his sign said: "We are sorry. Can we start over?" Everyone is just sharing how they feel in their own way.

I wish you were here to see all this Mac. You would be able to blog about it from a perspective that I will never be able to capture...


Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
Lisa

janstown said...

Macdaddy,
This piece is powerfully masterful and worthy of broader publishing. You've said your not writing a book; but know that this one of your greatest and inspiring pieces. A heartfelt thanks for sharing your gift. It is so poignant, particularly today as my heart is filled with pride and an optimism. This gift you've shared, helps to dispell that ever present "it is what it is" philosophy I've carried around with me for as long as I can remember. Not quite recognizing this as a response, no defense to a kind of despair. This piece fosters an introspective awakening, a self-assessment to "access[ing] that gift" you speak of with an honesty that instead serves to foster that infinite hope.

Happy traveling to you too.

jah

MacDaddy said...

Jah: You speak with passion. Thank you.