This week we’re talking about “The Dream” and I can’t get this song out of my head, Aimee Mann’s recording of “Shed A Little Light” from the episode “College Kids” on The West Wing. One of the things that I adore about Aaron Sorkin’s work is that he and his writers will teach you something if you have the ears to hear it.
There was a LOT of stuff going on in this clip, so I encourage you to watch it several times so you can fully unpack it, but basically it talks about two kinds of people (1) the ones who make excuses for doing what needs to be done and (2) the ones who get it done and ask, what’s next?
Say what you will about the 2015 State of the Union, but the last 6 years, I’ve learned how to be proud to be an American again and to really own it. And no, I don’t attribute that wholly to President Barack Obama, because he alone did not spark, enact or carry out the large scale change that this great nation has experienced over the past 6 years. Martin Luther King Jr. did not single-handedly advance the American Civil Rights Movement.
Change does not come as the sole result of any one man (or woman). We are all pieces in the tapestry of life. The whole can exist with one but the overall design is evermore enriched by each little piece we add through our work-play-life.
We are Americans. We do things that are hard because we can and because they need to get done. That is a part of our legacy.
We are Americans. We don’t know everything and definitely benefit from inviting others to work alongside us to address global problems. That is a part of legacy as well.
We are Americans. We are the great and growing melting pot (or salad bowl) where cultures clash in the struggle to learn how to be humane to ALL of our brothers and sisters. We work to resist fear and ignorance, because we can and MUST for the good of all humankind. This is the BEST of our legacy and we need to remember that when times get hard.
We will continue to struggle to educate our people, because all people are deserving of an education if they are willing to work for it.
We will continue to struggle to stamp out fear and ignorance, because all people are deserving of respect and dignity.
We will continue to struggle to provide opportunities for families to prosper without fear of homelessness or lack of food, because we are our brothers’ keepers.
We will continue because we must.
So let us turn our thoughts today, to Martin Luther King…and recognize that if we work toward that dream then we are in a daily pursuit of truth, justice and the American way.
~ Marta G.