It is Martin Luther King Day. By serendipity or plan, Barack Obama’s inauguration for his second term was also today. This past Friday was the sixth anniversary of the assassination of Hrant Dink whom many Armenians and Turks consider the Martin Luther King of the Republic of Turkey. Since I first made this King-Dink connection in my mind, I have read that others have made the same link. For the past few years, part of this day has been reserved for reflection on these two great martyrs. Given that the inauguration of Obama was made possible by Kings work and there was even more reason to reflect. In the last few years, I have listened to Kings “I have a dream speech.”
Until writing this piece in the eleventh hour of the day, I have not really given much thought to King, Obama, or Dink. My son and daughter in-law actually went to the inauguration. I caught bits of it on TV but it was only commentators. I saw none of the swearing in and none of the President’s speech.
I hate to say it but this year I was too busy. I have been on the go all day that began by generating a to-do list and then knocking things off the list. Plus, and I hate to admit this, I had less interest this year than previous years. I was thinking about trying to feel guilty about this but there was no guilt. Zip. Nada.
Earlier today, I saw the cartoon that is posted in this blog. I saw it on the True Activist Facebook page. Shortly thereafter I saw a post that said something akin to “I have a dream that we will find a way to reduce our deficit and get the country on a firm financial footing.” Of course, financial concerns motivate us way more than social, environmental, and global politics. Extreme financial angst creates revolutionaries, but medium financial angst just gets people worrying more about themselves and their immediate futures than tackling larger social and environmental issues. It is hard to worry about global warming when one is worried about their home being foreclosed or losing their job. It is simply where one is on the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs.
The United States has changed. Our strength or what had been our strength, the middle class, has been decimated. The very idea of retirement is all but gone for the vast majority of us. We are not Greece by any stretch but we seem closer to Italy.
Clearly, I did reflect on day and the state of our country and our planet. I guess I did it in between all the things I had to do. It may not have been about King and Dink as much I wondered if Obama would be able to implement the change that he so had us believing in during his first campaign.
Well that is this year... lets see what next year brings.