Holiday specials are half the reason I spend way too much time watching TV shows. But as much as I love predictable Christmas mishaps and failed Halloween pranks, I kinda (by which I mean REALLY REALLY) wish a bigger deal would be made of days like today. Imagine how much good could be done if somebody other than BET actually gave a crap (no offense to BET, you keep doing what you do). It’s not often we have the chance to celebrate a man who changed the course of this nation’s history, a man who had a dream and dared to make that dream known and literally put his whole life behind that dream. As I look around me, though, and take a quick temperature of society’s attitude toward this commemorative day, I wonder if he made a difference at all. Now, is that a grossly melodramatic exaggeration to make a point and bait the reader? Sure. But in all seriousness, none of his life’s work matters unless we– here, today, decades later– do something about it. He worked to free an entire people, signing his own life’s work with his blood; yet, he was just one man whose death is a relic of history. Of course his words and ideals live on but unless we (you, me, us) catch them and internalize them and use them to be greater and do greater things, those words and ideals mean nothing. And honestly, this world would get so much better so much faster if we spent less time looking toward one man and more time looking at ourselves and each other.
While I applaud the man for stepping up as an example, I fear that the leader of a complacent people is no more than a figurehead. And I guess that’s just the simple gist of it all— don’t be complacent. Take the day to honor the man, then take the rest of your life to honor his legacy. When he said that he had a dream, I don’t believe he meant it to stay a dream. Only when we see his dream become reality will we truly be paying our respects to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.