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Be The Change That You Wish To See

For anyone who has stood at the precipice of despair or anger over the ways of the world, and has asked themselves whether their voice, their action, their thoughts can make a difference, I say an emphatic "yes."  On this day when we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., can anyone doubt that a single life, lived with purpose and decided intent, might change things for the better?  Not only the nation in which he lived, but also the world for generations to come.

Be the change that you wish to see.

Last year, I put together a compendium of links to my favorite speeches and writings of Dr. King and said this about them:

And his rise from humble circumstances to be one of the genuine heroes of the civil rights movement is a source of inspiration to me on my darkest days. One voice raised in the cause of justice can be a beacon to all those living in darkness, and Dr. King was such a voice.

Such a mighty voice, ringing out over the mountaintops in the cause of freedom and justice, and reaching into the valleys of despair to lift those living in the darkness onto the wings of angels so that they might soar up, up, into the light of freedom that was promised to them in our nation's founding. A promise that was given to all of us — and an obligation to every citizen in this nation to live up to the possibility that America truly be a shining city on a hill. Every citizen. Every one of us has that obligation every single day.

For me, one of the greatest legacies of Dr. King is that anything is possible if you pour all that you have into it, and do your work with the intent of lifting your fellow man into the light. On this day that we celebrate the legacy of Dr. King, I wanted to share some of my favorite passages, so that you might use them to lead yourselves out of your darkest days as well.

How we use our time on this earth is something that we can choose.  How we use our voice — whether to lift up the lives of others and to help the plight of those in need, or rather to enrich ourselves at the expense of everyone else or to cast aside entire groups or individuals as unsalvageable…what is your choice?

Today, please join me in lifting up your voice as a tribute to the amazing legacy of Dr. King: write a letter to your local newspaper, make a call to a talk radio show, place a phone call to your elected representatives, talk with your neighbors, your friends, your co-workers…do something…but lift up your voice about an issue that is important to you.  Today.

The speech that I linked above from YouTube contains one of my favorite quotes — the tagline I still use with my DKos comments:  "A time comes when silence is betrayal."  That time is now, my friends.   It is time for all of us to stand up and be the change that we want to see.

(To read the entire speech, click here.)

PS — Ian Welsh had a great suggestion to me by e-mail:  try suggesting that your elected representative visit Walter Reed with Jack Murtha and/or Jim Webb, two men who have seen more than their share of battle and its aftermath.

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Happy birthday, Dr. King

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com