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Reader Opinion: Martin Luther King Jr.

Jan. 21 was a day set aside to remember and honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., who arose from an oppressed class but nevertheless gave voice to the best of American democratic ideals, called for non-violent change and sacrificed his life...

Jan. 21 was a day set aside to remember and honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., who arose from an oppressed class but nevertheless gave voice to the best of American democratic ideals, called for non-violent change and sacrificed his life in service of a better, more inclusive America. Unless people are so blinded by skin color that they cannot see into the heart of other human beings or recognize noble character when it is present, everyone must recognize the positive trajectory of his life, not just for our African-American citizens but for the soul of the entire nation.

The result of King's leadership, and sadly his death, was for us as a nation to make some significant strides in the direction of righting some historical wrongs and moving our nation in the direction of inclusiveness, justice and equality. We all, and especially African-Americans, knew that there was much left to do to meet those goals and that progress was always too slow since that equality and inclusiveness should have been a given for all citizens.

Meanwhile, many presidential administrations found excuses to slow that process and to allow too many of the old abuses to continue or simply morph into more elusive forms.

The final result is that we have allowed the unfinished business to remain in a kind of limbo until we find ourselves under the thrall of a president who clearly does not believe or even espouse inclusiveness, who allows racism, if not overtly, at least with a wink and a nudge. We find ourselves slipping back into our reactionary, and class oriented past, in which an authoritarian state dismantles the protections that should be available to all citizens. Ultimately, we see democracy itself destroyed and walls being built to keep humanity out.

Bob Passi

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