There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Monday, January 21, 2008

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 2008

It should not surprise that a transitarian -- an avowed hopemonger -- would support Barack Obama for president. Below is a video from Obama's speech Sunday, Jan. 20, at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s church, Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga., and an excerpt from his remarks.

I can think of no better way to celebrate King's day and his dream?

[T]hat is what is at stake in the great political debate we are having today. The changes that are needed are not just a matter of tinkering around the edges. They will not come if politicians simply tell us what we want to hear. All of us will be called upon to make some sacrifice. None of us will be exempt from responsibility. We will have to fight to fix our schools, but we will also have to challenge ourselves to be better parents, and turn off the television sets and put away the video games. And our men have to be home with our children. That too is part of the challenge that we must make. We will have to confront the biases in our criminal justice system, but we will also have to acknowledge the deep-seated violence that still resides in our own communities and in too many of the hearts of our young people and we must break the grip of that violence wherever we see it.

That is how we are going to bring about the change that we seek. That's how Dr. King led this country through the wilderness. He did it with words -- words that he spoke not just to the children of slaves but to the children of slave owners. Words that inspired not just black but also white; not just the Christian but also Jew and Muslim and Buddhist and atheist; not just the Southerner but also the Northerner.

He led with words, but he also led with deeds. He also led by example. He led by marching and going to jail and suffering threats and beatings and being away from his family. He led by taking a stand against a war, knowing full well that it would diminish his popularity. He led by challenging our economic structures, understanding that it would cause discomfort. Dr. King understood that unity cannot be won on the cheap; that we would have to earn it through great effort and determination.

That is the unity -- the hard-earned unity -- that we need right now. That effort, and that determination, that can transform blind optimism into hope.

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