Friday, June 5, 2009

Among Us

Today is Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.  He would have been 80.
I've alluded to this fact before, but I find these tidbits of information from a daily email I receive called The Writer's Almanac. They send me a daily poem, and then little gems of information about the day in history from a literary, historical, or cultural point of view.
Anyway, in the paragraph about MLK, it reminds me that he was only 26 years old when he was asked to lead a boycott of the infamous segregated buses.  Twenty-six!  That's how old I am today.  I am a cube monkey.  Let's not make any comparison between the two of us beyond the number of days we've been on this earth at this point in our human experience.
It goes on to mention that had he known what the unintentionally assumed role of "civil rights leader" would encompass, that he might have declined the role.  I think that's pretty magnificent.  At first reading, it might sound kind of... selfish?  You know, had he known all that would be to come in his life, personally, maybe he would have said no.  If he'd know that he'd be murdered in his prime, he'd say no. But I think what that really says, to me anyway, is that he was human, a young man, just like the rest of us.  Not a super-human who was born with martyr-like subconscious, but your normal average guy.  Who went on to become a revolutionary.
I guess what I'm really getting at is this: there will be more of him to come.  In male, female, young, old, gay, straight, black, white, rich, poor, married, single, parent, childless, religious, atheist forms.  And the fact that he was just normal young adult like the rest of us, struggling to make decisions on which battle to fight, which stand needs to be taken, which debate you should jump in on (there are tons in this day and age) - is pretty awesome.  There are more MLK's out there among my demographic, making waves and not even knowing how big they will crash on shore.
{Note - this was written many months ago, but kept in draft mode in my inbox. Just publishing it today, 6-5-09.    The first sentence is obviously incorrect as of today's date.}

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