my Dad proved himself a genuine patriot on some obvious and meaningful levels. he served his country as an decorated Air Force officer, and he stood firm on a morale high-ground that included firm convictions around his command-in-chief(s). I know this because he often spoke about political philosophy around the dinner table and at the officers club bar. however, he always stood by a president of the era because it was a simple matter of the chain-of-command.
yesterday I tweeted:
I watched the face of my earthly father while he intently listened to Martin Luther King on our black and white television. he had the same look when he watched Neil Armstrong take that other first big step for mankind on the lunar surface.
I’ve not often been kind to president Barack Obama in this blog. however, a few months ago I started taking the position that I need to support him because he is our president by the choice of the people – either through ignorance, or inspiration. while I’ll keep sifting through the debris of media I’ll seek truth and light and help everyone make informed decisions.
in any event, my Dad was very careful in designing and implementing his career-path. his was a career both by need and by design. he was a dirt-poor South Dakota farm boy and genuinely feared poverty. I believe Obama designed his career-path as well. I don’t know if he is the anti-Christ. I can’t say that he is some how chosen, or annoited. but, he has craftily positioned himself to get where he is today. he did so, and rather ironically, by never holding a meaningful job that might qualify him as an executive leader. but, then neither did Jesus Christ, right? so, that can be admired. NOTE: I never planned to be referred to as a “cultural architect”. but, my life took it’s twist-and-turns to get me here, and it fits reasonably well. Martin Luther King probably never asked God to be thrust into the lime light and then be killed specifically for it. while I’m not prepared to compare him to Christ, either, others will.
everyone referenced thus far share something of the opportunist. however, King was literally thrust into his role. overnight, he went from preaching from a small pulpit to addressing huge throngs of people craving leadership and example.
My Dad led by example. Christ certainly made a point of doing that. I’m not sure about Obama. But, I’m hopeful. I’m thinking King will be a wild card for a long time because I know he’s had a great impact, but I can’t find evidence he sought the role.
After renewing his oath of office on Monday, President Obama said in his second inaugural address, “We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still.”“My fellow Americans,” Mr. Obama said, “we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together.” read more, here.
I don’t know what Obama thinks we are seizing. he’s not architecting a national identity unless its socialist in nature. but, perhaps if we look at Norway and other happy Scandinavian countries, it might not be a bad move. but, only time will tell, just as it has with Christ. He turned a world upside down, and saved us all. however, King asked us to be open-minded, open-hearted; tolerant. so, in light of that, and my Dad’s sense of patriotism, I’m thinking hard about Martin Luther King and his legacy, which has become part of our national identity – and, one that my Dad was willing to defend and die for, inspiring me to do the same (while counting on God to sort it all out).
I know why good men remember my Dad, Jesus Christ and, Martin Luther King. I have no idea today why we should follow Obama, or have cause to remember him, other than his place on a list of historically relevant names in our history books. but, my Dad would probably say that Obama, by virtue of being president, commands our attention. and, what we do with the tools he gives us is up to us. that’s what Dad did as an Airman (a “steely-eyed missile man”, eh, Dad).
Mark Pendleton shared this piece by Kayla McClurg with me
“When I reflect on the life and witness of Martin Luther King, Jr., one thing that strikes me is obvious: he didn’t start out to be who he ended up being. He didn’t set out to be a visionary leader, intent on making an impact on the country and culture of his day. He allowed himself to be created. Slowly, layer by layer, choice by choice, he became himself. He didn’t choose “leader of a mass civil rights movement” from a list of vocational options. His identity emerged gradually from within as he yielded to the guidance of the community and listened and prayed and read and participated and took the risks of creativity that were uniquely his to take.
Underneath who we think we are, who people expect us to be, are as-yet-undiscovered aspects of our true identity–layers waiting to be uncovered. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the minister of a local church, husband and father, a dedicated preacher who devoted hours to preparing sermons that were theologically sound and probing. This was a good fit for him. He wasn’t searching for a new identity. But he found himself interested in the writings of Henry David Thoreau about civil disobedience and Gandhi’s thoughts about nonviolence. He became interested in some folks who were questioning the color barriers in their town and were beginning to devise ways to stand up to them. He didn’t have answers, only questions. He followed the questions, exploring the hints that came layer by layer, thus becoming more of himself.
Thus it was surprising, and yet not surprising at all, that within hours after a seamstress named Rosa Parks had “sat down for what she believed” he had been named spokesperson for a fledgling resistance movement. When he got home and told Coretta what had happened, he said he knew at a gut level that he was being asked inwardly to move beyond words and ideas and to put theory into practice. He said he knew he could no longer stand by and do nothing because to do so was to be a perpetrator of the evil he deplored.
Twenty minutes later the same young man who had a reputation for giving sermons only after hours of preparation was standing before a crowd of about 4,000 people speaking extemporaneously of the challenges and opportunities that lay before them. Part of what he said was this:
Sometimes a person gets tired…. We are here this evening to say to those who have mistreated us so long that we are tired–tired of being segregated and humiliated, tired of being kicked by the brutal feet of oppression…. We come here tonight to be saved from the patience that makes us patient with anything less than freedom and justice.
King knew he had a calling–to be a preacher and a father and a citizen. What he discovered little by little was that these dreams would be fulfilled far beyond his imagination. What about us? Are we still becoming ourselves? Are our deepest callings still unfolding, beyond our imagination? Or have we become too patient with being less than we really are?”
NOTE: Information on Martin Luther King is evidently borrowed from the biography called, King – a Biography by David Levering Lewis.
we may not always be able to choose who we are, or even our specific path. but, we always have a choice about what we do with the options granted us. so, we have a decision to make around being part of the solution and not the problem. my Dad and Martin Luther King have their places in history. Obama and I still have options. so do you.
peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.
brian patrick cork