I have been crying for the last five minutes. And not just crying but acting like I have been beaten for doing something wrong. You know the kind of crying where you can't catch your breath. You know what I am talking about.
But they are actually happy tears. Let me tell you a story.
This morning, a person that is family to me as if he were blood kin, posted on his Facebook wall, an excerpt from Dr. King's speech "I've Been to the Mountaintop." If you haven't heard this speech, and so many people have not heard it, you should listen to it now. This was the speech that Dr. King gave the night before he was assassinated. These were the final words he spoke in public:
Well I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. I don't mind. Like anybody I would like to live a long life. Longevity has it's place. But I'm not concerned with that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. So I am happy tonight. I am not worried about anything. I am not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.
Maybe I am a big old softy...but listening to that speech in the doctor's own words maybe me choke up like an old black lady at a funeral.
Yesterday was the 47th anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Yesterday Glen Beck and Douchnozzle Extreme Sarah Palin held a rally...at the Lincoln Memorial....talking about taking back the Civil Rights Movement.
Fuck them. FUCK THEM. FUCK THEM IN THE FUCKING SKULL WITH A RUSTY RAZOR BLADE COVERED IN EBOLA!
So glad I got that out of my system.
I am actually angry. I am so angry I could spit random toiletries. The anger is directed solely at one target: myself. I am angry that I have succumbed to hatred. On the anniversary of Dr. King's most famous speech. I have betrayed his memory and legacy by bowing down to the emotion of the enemy. I have let hatred overcome my spirit, and I have reveled in it.
I am ashamed of myself. Dr. King deserves better. I deserve better.
I wish that I could love my enemy as I love myself. I wish that I could live the spirit of Dr. King.
Let me be clear. Dr. King was a human. He was a womanizer and was not faithful to the commitments he made to Mrs. Coretta Scott King. He was gay accepting but only to a point. He kept his mentor and friend and architect of the 1963 March on Washington Bayard Rustin on the sidelines and out of the limelight because of his sexual orientation. But not despite all that, but because of all that...because he was human and because being human he still inspired us to be more than we are and gave us the space to imagine ourselves as better than this world would have us be, I love Dr. Martin Luther King.
In high school, I had an amazing history teacher by the name of Frederick Burton. In my senior year, his three year old daughter recited, from memory, Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech as part of a Black History Month celebration in Minneapolis. Mr. Burton blessed my entire school by having his daughter's rendition of the speech broadcast over the school's intercom system. In my mind and in my spirit I can still hear her little and powerful voice say, "Free at last...free at last...thank God Almighty...we are free at last."
I believed every word that little girl said.
The power and legacy of Dr. King is that he continues to inspire us 42 years after he was assassinated by the United States government. Now, more than at anytime when Dr. King was alive, we know the truth about him as a man. We know about his weaknesses and his foibles, and we, or at least I, love him even more for his humanity. And though Glen Beck and Sarah Palin tried to co-opt his dream yesterday...though they straight up lied about the coincidence of organizing a rally on that day while including Dr. King's fucked up, self-hating, stupid and ugly niece in the line up for the event....no one can take Dr. King from us. No one can take his dream from us.
Dr. King DID get to the mountaintop...and he DID see the promised land...and though that land may still be far off...and though many of us may not live to see our arrival...the arc of the universe does bend towards justice...and we will get there...we shall overcome...some day....very...very soon.