Every generation has a few of what I refer to as "World Changers."
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and a number of others in that generation were in that category. Every generation has had them. I don't subscribe to the old saw that "they don't make 'em like that anymore."
Yes, they do.
It's just that they are often unrecognized as the world changers they are until later. During their lifetimes, they are often the centers of controversy and turmoil and not recognized as the dynamic leaders and game changers they really are. Sometimes, they are only truly recognized after martyrdom.
I am writing this blog on a day that honors one of those martyred world changers -- January 16 -- Martin Luther King Day.
It wasn't until today that I read the entire context of King's "I Have a Dream" speach. I had heard excerpts of it, but have to confess that I never took the time to look up and read the entire speach. Find it here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/16/i-have-a-dream-speech-text-martin-luther-king-jr_n_1207734.html.
It was like hearing the strains of a rousing march tune! What an orator! King could take ordinary words and fill them with emotional drama and power that only a master of oratory could rise to! It takes a lot of emotion and clarity of thought to accomplish the feat. One has to be totally dedicated.
It may seem strange that I have so much regard for Martin Luther King. After all, I am a dedicated anti-theist atheist. By contrast, he was a dedicated Christian minister.
King died at the age of 39. When I was that age, I was also totally dedicated to a cultic form of Christianity. Perhaps he would still be as dedicated if he had lived as long as have I. Who can know? Where we end up in life philosophy and dedication depends a great deal on what we experience and what we learn over time.
What I have learned and experienced in the interim has led me to just as much of a dedicated goal as King had. I, too, have a dream.
I dream of a day when the human race is not divided by the blind dogmas of militant religions. Of a time when reason and scientific and historical facts form the basis of personal and international human decisions. I just as vehemently and passionately hope that my descendants will be people of reasoned good will toward their fellow humans, respectful of others because of their inherent right as fellow humans to be loved and respected and given equal opportunity to happiness and prosperity.
I dream of a human race released from the shackles of myth and superstition. A world in which ignorant, superstitious parents don't home school their innocent, bright-eyed children to condemn them to a lifetime of fanatic dedication to the same mythological nonsense that has warped their own minds.
I dream of our colonizing space, spreading throughout the galaxy and developing technologies that will make what we have today look like the stone age artifacts we gaze at in museums -- terraforming planets, intervening to prevent celestial disasters, evolving to potentials we can only speculate and dream about.
It is ignorance, selfishness, greed and faith inspired hate that stands in the way. It has always stood in the way. It burned the great library of Alexandria and took most of the accumulated knowledge of the ancient world away in those flames.
The same forces now threaten the progress we have made in the last few centuries with a holocaust that could extinguish us from the universe -- a universe that beckons and waits for us to grow up and turn sane.
What a tragedy it would be for ignorance and blindness to again wipe out the hard won gains mankind has made -- all for the slacking of the thirst some have for ultimate power over other of their fellow humans -- dictating what and how they will think, what they will be forced to say they believe on the pain of torture and/or death.
I waver between optimism and pessimism. What I see in the world has much in it that discourages, yet, I still hope. It is the "only game in town," as far as I can see.
I will continue to promote and work for "the dream."