Thursday, December 13, 2007

"The good man always reverses the question."

I've been slowly reading "Strength to Love," a collection of sermons by Martin Luther King Jr.

Last night I read, "On being a good neighbor," which you may guess deals with the parable of the good Samaritan. The Samaritan, Dr. King wrote, engaged in "dangerous altruism." Not only did he go the extra mile to help a stranger, he put himself in danger of being attacked by the very thieves that waylaid that stranger on the road to Jericho.

Wrote King:
We so often ask, "What will happen to my job, my prestige, or my status if I take a stand on this issue? Will my home be bombed, will my life be threatened, or I will I be jailed?" The good man always reverses the question.

In other words, do not ask "What will happen to me if I act," but "What will happen to others if I do not?" This idea is thousands of years old. It is not King's any more than it is mine.

I think most people would (at least say they) agree with this idea. So the political question becomes: Should that core philosophy change when you are in government and represent one mass of people as opposed to another?

And will that kind of thinking ever get us to where we want to go?

What are the questions in Macon, in Georgia, in this country? And are we willing to reverse them?

In Macon we often fight along racial lines. Our new Mayor, Robert Reichert, spoke to this Tuesday evening during his inaugural address"
I grew up in the 1960s, and I was a witness to the civil rights struggle. I didn't personally participate in opposing the civil rights movement back then, but I sat on the sidelines and did nothing; for years. I am haunted now by my failure to speak up. ...

My heart is changed, and I hope to inspire and lead others in this community to demonstrate their change of heart. ... we need to aggressively pursue all appropriate opportunities to get to know our neighbors, not move away from them.

Reichert did not specifically mention consolidation of the city and county governments here, but he made a reference to it by mentioning the "imaginary lines on the ground we call the city limits that separate us."

After his speech I was walking with Mayor Jack Ellis, whom Reichert replaced.

"He spoke to the heart of the matter," Ellis said. "Now, will the people consolidate?"

If not for race, if not for fear among blacks and whites that new voting districts would reduce one group's political power, it would have happened long ago, Ellis said.

Now, who's reversing the question?

2 comments:

Molly said...

I've always felt like for our city to move beyond it's racial issues it will take the "old order", both black and white, dying out. Not to be insensitive or to say that people should forget what it took to get us where we are now, but simply that for people who experienced all of the problems that came with civil rights movement- I would think that it would be hard to move past those scars. And so I think it will take some of those people dying off and a new generation coming to power to make a difference.

Lucid Idiocy said...

Just one generation? You're more optimistic than me. I hope you're right.