Thursday, January 15, 2015

Presence and Presents

If Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was still alive, then today he would be celebrating his eighty-fifth birthday and presuming he was still in moderately good health we the people of these United States would be able to enjoy the benefit of his perspective on the issues of the day.  Were Dr. King still alive, of course, then those of you who are looking forward to a three-day weekend would not have a Federally-mandated reason for sleeping through your alarm on Monday morning.  

I know not whether it would sadden Dr. King - as frankly it does me - to learn that his three surviving adult children, for whom he had the most wonderful of all dreams ("I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character") are presently engaged in litigation.  The legal battle centers upon the ownership of the Bible he carried with him on his travels and his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize Medal.  At stake, according to the news stories I saw, may very well be whether Dr. King's Estate can sell the items.  Sadly, this is not the only time that Dr. King's adult offspring have required the intervention of the American system of civil justice to resolve a dispute involving and/or among themselves.  And if history is any guide, it shall likely not be the last.  

This is not, one presumes, the way in which Dr. King would have wanted his adult offspring to observe and to honor his birthday.   Their apparent pettiness does not - at all - diminish all that he did for them and for the little children of countless others.  His presence was his present.  Shame on them if they lack the wherewithal to recognize that and to honor him by acting accordingly. 


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