As we enter a new year and begin a new presidential administration, I am excited and hopeful about the possibility of reclaiming our country’s moral leadership at home and around the world. Here is an excerpt from a 1961 essay by Martin Luther King Jr. that could well have been written today:
“History has thrust upon the present administration an indescribably important destiny; to complete a process of democratization which our nation has taken far too long to develop, but which is our most powerful weapon for earning world respect and emulation. How we deal with this crucial problem of racial discrimination will determine our moral health as individuals, our political health as a nation, our prestige as a leader of the free world. I can think of few better words for the guidance of the new administration than those which concluded the 1946 report of the President’s Commission on Civil Rights: ‘The United States is not so strong, the final triumph of the democratic ideal not so inevitable that we can ignore what the world thinks of us or our record.’ These words are even more apt today than on the day they were written.”
And even more apt today, 60 years after King wrote this passage. Let’s stand together in 2021 with a renewed moral vision for our community and our nation.