You…The Great American (Real Talk – MLK Day version)


Today is a special day for many reasons.  You were able to wake up and enjoy it is one, but certainly it being Dr. Martin Luther King Jr day and the inauguration of our President… which is why I saved Real Talk for today.

As President Obama heads into his second term (something my parents would have never imagined considering the generation they grew up in) the country stands divided.  Not nearly as divided as the country Dr. King knew, but nevertheless, divided.  On one hand, it makes complete sense that we are divided.  We are a country faced with many issues like high unemployment rates and high taxes, skyrocketing healthcare costs, the war on terror, gun control and providing our children a better education so we can continue to compete with other nations.  The divide tells me that these are issues that the citizens of our country are taking very seriously, and they should.  The future of our country depends on solving these issues, and others as they arise, which will strengthen our foundation for generations to come.

The issue, on the other hand, is that the divide has not inspired solutions.  The world that Dr. King, and so many others, lived in was one full of challenges.  Dr. King, and those like him, saw those challenges and created solutions.  The greater good in the people of this nation, took to those solutions and created changes that continue to shape our great land.  Yes, Dr. King did a lot of talking, as a lot of us do today.  It’s certainly much easier today because of the many vehicles we have that allow us to talk…loudly and recklessly at times.  But don’t only remember Dr. King as a man with many words of wisdom.  He was a man of action.  He was a man of collaboration.  He was a man that looked for a solution whenever or wherever one needed to be found.  It’s that type of mentality that leads to a better country.  It’s that type of mentality that leads to a better state.  It’s that type of mentality that leads us to be better people.

I know that a King effort may not be needed on every issue, but the fact that we are all capable of effort is lost on some.  It sometimes seems as if all we know how to do is talk about an issue, and how wrong everyone else is for their stance on the issue, but we are not providing any productive dialogue.  If that’s you then either you be quiet while the do’ers try and do, or you begin to help find a solution.  I’m confident you will go with the latter because I have faith in us.  I believe that we can be the change that we seek.  I believe that if we begin to see the objects of our divide as the issue themselves and not the people trying to solve the issues, we will be much more productive.  We are all human and the large majority of us seek to do good, but that doesn’t mean that the quest to do good is always punctuated with a favorable outcome.  That’s why we must help each other, not stifle one another.

Not everyone can be Dr. King.  Not everyone can inspire a nation to see the err of its ways, and commit to changing those ways even when death might be the consequence.  That takes one hell of an individual.  But for every one of those King like individuals, there are 1000’s of others who can inspire their town…who can inspire their family and friends…who can inspire a small group of individuals with similar interests.  And the greater good within those people will take to the message, and tackle the issues, as long as the foundation of the inspiration is an open mind.  One that’s committed to respect, collaboration, and problem solving, and not endless complaining and name calling.  That’s all it takes.  Who knows, you may inspire the next Dr. King.

I close this by saying if there is an issue you feel strongly about, don’t wait for someone else to solve it.  From your kids school, to an issue at work, to an issue in your town.  You have a voice.  Sit back and do nothing, or contribute to the solution.  You have a choice.  Let’s honor the great American’s who came before us and made decisions that allow us to live freely in such a great country by being great American’s ourselves.

Thank you for joining me on another journey.  Have a great week!

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