August 28th, 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his seminal speech “I have a Dream.” Today as we celebrate his birthday, I can’t help but find myself reading his speech and looking back on history and forward on our future.
What does an adventure travel blog have anything to do with the civil rights movement or having a dream?
I have no comparison to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in any shape form or fashion. I’m a quiet, middle-aged man who has a passion for the arts, sciences, travel, technology, and people. I love seeing, experiencing and living cultures; I love their food, their arts, their achievements, their experiences. I love reading about history, seeing how people overcame adversity and climbed mount improbable and conquered their fears and paved the way for greatness.
I have nothing but admiration for Dr. Martin Luther King. His speech “I have a dream” has a meaning, an influence and a force of shaping this great nation like very few people before him. His story is something everyone can admire and respect.
But what is our dream today? Where are we now?
Are we free at last? Are we satisfied?
“There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?”
I ask this question of everyone. When will YOU be satisfied? What is satisfaction in a day and age when you have the world at your fingertips, technology one could only dream of years ago, and freedoms experience by man like never before yet if you watch the news, read the social media and talk amongst peers we seem miserable, divisive and unsatisfied?
What is satisfying about saying and fighting for something so vigorously that we become divisive on it? If you love something so much, shouldn’t we focus on sharing the love?
When will you be satisfied? What is greatness?
Isn’t greatness when you’re sick, you can be healed? Isn’t greatness that when you’re poor but in good health, you can find work, earn a living and support yourself and your family? Isn’t greatness when you have the freedoms to explore, travel and see our great country and experience the greatness of other countries? Isn’t greatness great without regard for skin color and ethnicity?
Isn’t that when we’ll be satisfied? Not when privilege has granted us satisfaction we can go quietly hide away and love as if we’re supposed to be thankful for it, but satisfaction that we’re all realizing what is great about all of us?
There isn’t a day that I sit on my computer writing, thinking and contemplating just how many ungrateful people there are and how many of them speak about “greatness” without the appearance of conveying or understanding what greatness is… We’re screaming, we’re yelling, and we’re all fighting for something – but what the hell is it?
The struggle to put bigger rims on your car, a faster computer or bigger phone or bigger house isn’t a struggle for greatness. The battle to have the most Instagram followers, the most prominent Facebook page, the busiest and hottest twitter followers is meaningless. When you get that new iPhone its just a fleeting greatness, then you have years of bills and debt paying for it. But we’ll use those years of debt and pay for it to go further into debt about defining greatness as how we see it individually. Look at MY pictures, MY family, MY car – Look at how YOU hurt ME or YOUR views oppress MINE, or YOUR political beliefs are WRONG. I’m going to use my being in debt to hate you because now I can do so on a scale never before had in the palm of my hands – and I’m going to lose sleep over it because it’s important I say what I want to say… yet we all seem to seek this greatness… a material greatness…
How did we get to this nonsense nearly all of us are guilty of succumbing to?
Have we lost our humanity?
I’d say we make things great by loving each other. Loving our differences, Loving our history, loving our future. Loving the potential of every human being. Love not out of the hippy-dippy sense, but love out of respect, justice, equality and empathy for one another.
We focus on the negative entirely too much but in such a way that we fail to realize that the negative experiences of life that we overcome are where greatness comes.
Greatness doesn’t come from having it easy, a lap of luxury or billions in the bank.
But I digress.
” Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”
I don’t hate you for wanting to make America great. I wish that too.
I don’t dislike you for having your views. I have mine too
I don’t hate your freedom; I love mine too.
Let’s stop chanting out slogans, sayings, and absurdities that fit in tweets. Let’s grow better than divisive comments and divisive meanings and stop pretending we’re striving for greatness.
“The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.”
Justice. No, not that absurd kid’s clothing shore every parent hates. Justice – “the quality of being fair and reasonable: ”
Justice is what will make America great again. Justice is how we can honor Dr. Martin Luther King.
We have to choose to fight for justice. Fight for equality, struggle to love one another and respect one another. Fight our urges to create “us vs. them”, resist our calls to seek out differences to build walls. Fight our urges to generalize people for any reason.
America is great when we stand FOR something, not against it.
I stand here (sit here) not questioning why you want to make America great or wondering why you would or wouldn’t read this or believe anything I say, I sit here thinking “why has it come to this and what can we change.”
I want the best for my children, your children, my parents, your parents, myself and you. Every day in America 300+ million of us go around in our day to day lives without questioning this – until we get online until we get on Twitter and until we get on facebook – then we’re animals. We’re conservatives, and we’re liberals, we’re defined people with chosen battle lines that cheerlead corporate overlords and politicians into fighting for our teams. We’re black, we’re white, we’re latino – we define ourselves in many ways to oppose each other.
We have to get above this.
We have to seek Justice.
We have to seek out what it means to make us human. What it means to love our country – not how YOU choose to love it, but what it means – as a society of MILLIONS of people, what it means to love our country, stand for justice and liberty for all.
For me, that’s my freedom. My ability to write stuff like this. My ability to question what needs to be asked. Share what needs to be shared.
I have a dream. A dream that maybe you can share this with your friends – to speak honestly about what matters is whats in your heart. Don’t take offense to what I say, but listen, ask me questions, leave me comments. We should be able to talk about this in the open and respect each other as humans with faults and humans with greatness. It should be a discussion, not a warcry.
My heart knows that these political sayings – of which all parties is guilty of – these divisive lines, these news bites, sound bites and everything going around is entirely meaningless and lead no one and nothing to greatness.
Greatness is something we all seek.
Greatness is coming out of the struggle, having learned, having empathy, having experience, having love, having lived.
Greatness is the trials we overcome, not succumb.
Greatness is climbing that mountain, kayaking that stream, reading that book, helping your neighbor, teaching those kids, volunteering to feed the poor or build a house. Greatness is the sacrifice, greatness is love, greatness is liberty and justice for all. We can honor Dr. Martin Luther King Junior not by dividing ourselves but understanding each other and working together. Empathy is our ability to be great and still be ourselves.
“To be great is to be misunderstood.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance and Other Essays
I’m a 40 something father of two girls who loves the mountains, still plays in the sand and enjoys being in the great outdoors. The mountains are always calling my name.
“Wilderness is a necessity” – John Muir