“The Arc The Moral Universe Is Long, But It Bends Towards Justice.” Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.
We marked the one year anniversary of the infamous and seemingly inexorable Troy Davis execution by the state of Georgia. For those of you who don’t know who Mr. Davis was or the issues surrounding this imbroglio take a look at the first installation in this two part series: The Moral Arc of Injustice, Ignorance, & Bandwagonism.
Now that you have read the antecedent, I want to shift my focus to something that is the cause of imminent concern, which is what gains have we made in this last year? How have our attitudes shifted? And is the arc of the moral universe still bending toward injustice?
Over the last year it seems that we have insouciantly allowed this story to ebb as the water does the shore of the Earth. Why though? Is the memory of Mr. Davis not important enough to bequeath our moral aegis? I would say it is; because, if we fail to keep that memory and cause alive then all that we diligently sought just one year ago will have died in vain just as the flesh of Mr. Davis. In this I am forced to recall the words of John F. Kennedy, who said, “A man may die… but an idea lives on.” And, that idea is one that adheres to Kingian philosophy in which he eloquently states that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Should we REALLY fight for that and believe Dr. King was not just echoing a sentiment for his own sake but presenting us with a foundation and a blueprint to live by. You see as the prophet Amos famously stated on justice rolling down as water, that moral ethos still rings true to this day. However, we have to take it a step further in our interpretation of both King and Amos. In that I mean, we have a moral responsibility to ensure that justice does roll down like waters and that the arc does bend toward justice. How is this possible you may be asking yourself? It isn’t hard. If only we reject the myopia that often affects our community then and maybe then shall be make good on the promise of Amos and King. I, for one feel that this is the most salient point of the case I attempt to make to you all. Invest yourself, and with the vigor and determination of those who fought, marched, sang, and sat-in, so that hopefully we and our posterity may be the beneficiaries of see that arc bend fully and not crookedly toward justice.
It takes a shift in our attitudes. We must reject our often times insouciant attitudes in favor of a more bellicose approach. The things we cared about a year ago, we still seem to care about. We as a community only seemed to be potently aroused when it comes to reacting to issues or events when we know good and well that the powdered keg is set to explode. Had men like King been this complacent, we might not have ever seen many of the rights and liberties we so enjoy these days. However, I feel that if we allow ourselves to become obsequious stalwarts in this movement for justice then this generation will no doubt have what Franklin Roosevelt called “a rendezvous with destiny.”
First we change the attitudes of people to actually become invested in these causes and then we stand firmly together with a plan of action to fight so that we may hand injustice an ignominious defeat. Most people may feel that I am too idealist in my thoughts. Most may say that our culture won’t allow us to come together for such as cause. Some may even in a sardonic tone write me off as simply crazy or overly optimistic. But, to the cynics I say, it can be done. I know this nation has prided itself on overcoming adversity. I always think back to that band of farmers, blacksmiths, and hunters came together and vanquished the imperial hand of a great empire. I think back to the men and woman who were forced to labor against their will, who endured the lashes of a whip. I think about the old man who wanted a drink of water or something to eat but had his dignity punctured by signs saying “For Whites Only.” So to the cynics, you can believe what you would like, but I will keep this idealism know that injustice can be slain and that the moral arc will one day bend toward justice as God has written it.
As I asked earlier in regards to the arc of the moral universe bending toward injustice, I will say that it remains that way. When teenage boys can be shot for going to the store to get candy and juice, when cops can beat young men of color on the streets of New York City, and while others just like Troy Davis still linger on in our judicial system only to await their day of reckoning with the evil face of injustice, I say that nothing has changed in this last year. In fact, I see the problem to be getting worst. Don’t let Trayvon, Troy, Sean or the countless others whose names are but footnotes in the book of injustice rest in vain. We have a moral responsibility to do something. Learn the law and fight back, advocate for better communities, as a brother of mine said “end the Stop Snitching” campaign to foster in good neighborhoods that are safe and embody what is best in us and not what is worst. Make good on the promise and then we WILL see the words of both Amos and King ring true.
Just some thoughts…