Donna Brazile tweeted this quote earlier today:

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” Dr Martin Luther King, Jr

Ok, well, we’re doing the best we can here at JJP. This quote sounds a little Tiger Mom and unachievable. I mean, a lot of us have jobs. Jobs that may not appear on the surface to be much concerned directly with uplifting humanity, but more with payin’ them bills and surviving. Yet I think what MLK was trying to say was essentially: find ways to inspire and uplift those around you in your life where you can, give it your very best shot and make it sacred.

CNN did this poll on whether or not MLK’s dream has been achieved in this country. Here’s the skinny:

Forty-eight percent of people questioned say that King’s dream has been fulfilled, with 49 percent saying it has not become reality. Breaking it down further, of the 49 percent who say the dream has not be fulfilled, the poll indicates that 26 percent say King’s vision will eventually occur, with 23 percent saying that King’s goal will never be accomplished.

“In 2008, before Barack Obama was elected president, only a third of the country felt that the goals in the “I Have a Dream Speech” had been achieved. After Obama was elected that shot up to 49 percent and has remained at that level ever since,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

I’m in the latter camp of folks who think we haven’t yet achieved the dream but I do believe we’re closer than ever before. I’m hopeful. Here are some recent happenings that give me hope this Martin Luther King Day:

  • America has a Black President who continually seeks to unite and inspire the nation with his humanity and wisdom.
  • America has not assassinated its African-American president. Not yet and hopefully not ever.
  • This same President placed a bust of Martin Luther King in his Oval Office and has led America in encouraging that MLK day be a National Day of Service. Many White House officials are volunteering today. I think MLK would think that’s cool.
  • Tunisia in North Africa just underwent a peaceful revolution, displacing a long-standing tyrant driven in part by the power of social media to self-organize & self-express. Plus a little Wikileaks document sharing on the side. This has shaken the other tyrants in the Middle East and I hope is the start of greater democracy & freedom. in the region. I think we all congratulate the Tunisian people on their determination to self-govern. Read President Obama’s excellent statement on Tunisia. Quote: “I have no doubt that Tunisia’s future will be brighter if it is guided by the voices of the Tunisian people.”
  • Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) have pledged to sit together during the State of the Union speech as a display of national unity. This will be truly historic if it happens and they have expressed the hopes that others will erase the divide by party and sit together to hear the president as citizens together.
  • President Obama’s former opponent, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), has pushed back on others in his party in calling Obama a patriot who loves his country. I have always said that McCain probably saved some black people’s lives on election night 2008 by conceding quickly and gracefully. I would submit that this latest gesture is equally as brave and responsible. It demonstrates Martin Luther King’s demand that we be strong enough to love one another. Real leadership requires real love. Real leadership creates real peace & prosperity.

On this 25th anniversary of the MLK Holiday, I think all these events would encourage Martin Luther King. It ain’t a perfect world. Not just yet. But all labor, no matter how small, that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance. I hope you will take a little time today to reflect on MLK’s legacy and example. And then take a little time to do something, even if it’s a small thing, that would make him proud today. Above is one of my favorite speeches and one of King’s most controversial — “Why I am opposed to the war in Vietnam.”

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