It’s an interesting time to be alive.
In my tenure of working for this publication, I vaguely recall using this as a lead only once before. If memory serves correctly it was used once before, post a presidential election.
And here we are, days before the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, is sworn into office. A time when a business mogul, turned reality star, turned politician will take the most coveted seat in the history of the free world and represent us … Americans.
I have many thoughts and feelings on that statement alone, but I don’t intend to share my politics in this column space.
This is a heated topic and one which I am personally still trying to comprehend. In my adult years, I do not recall our country being more divided than it is right now.
Oh sure, the fingers are being pointed, the words exchanged and the ‘suck it up’ and deal mentality is fast and furious.
Humanity as a whole has saddened me on multiple fronts in the past 18 months. Regardless of one’s political beliefs, somewhere, somehow we made it okay to be openly rude to one another. Gone seem to be the days of agreeing to disagree or honoring with respect the viewpoints of others.
Social media, the home of keyboard warriors, does not help this epidemic in my opinion.
Generally speaking (of course) gone is the pursuance of patience, kindness and understanding as opposing sides listen to one another.
One party feels we need to ‘Make America great again,’ as the other feels victimized, judged and yes, even frightened. I know, ‘how dramatic,’ but for some those feelings are real.
Monday morning however, as I sat with my laptop pondering what to write, I revisited the words of one of my most favorite leaders of modern day, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The observance of his birth each year, remains one of my favorites.
Each year it prompts conversation in our schools, as well as in our home on how one man can make great change in this world. Dr. King, however, was not elected to be such a person. King, a Baptist minister and activist, driven by the civil rights movement in a peaceful way.
As I looked to so many of his quotes and I think to the coming week, months, even years ahead I can’t help but wonder, what has happened to us?
Granted, there was anger, violence and much disrespect as King found his way and led this country away from segregation, but his words, his words are so filled with hope and wisdom.
It is indeed ironic, that every four years the words of this Nobel Peace Prize recipient are revisited and echoed days prior to a new leader being sworn in.
As the lover of good quotes, it’s hard to find just one of Dr. King’s which is my favorite. His wisdom and way with words are both impressive and inspiring.
As we as Americans, look to the next four years, my hope is that we can recall what we share in common versus where we differ. No one likes to see homelessness, no one likes to hear of the uninsured and no one wants to live at poverty level. I think those are safe to say, goodness I hope so.
In the words of Dr. King, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.