The Power of a Dream
A week ago, a group of school children walked into their school. Unlike many children, doing so was the answer to many prayers. It was the fulfillment of their dreams. It was also showing the terrorists who had bombed their school earlier that they would not be slaves tofear and panic.
Slaves, and they have come in all colors, sizes, and nationalities throughout the history of the world, were valued for their contribution to the homestead. Some worked in agricultural fields, some in mines, and some in houses. Today we call them by other names and sadly their value is still similar to that of a pet goldfish – a dead goldfish. Several years ago, nominees for political appointments were disqualified for having undocumented alien workers who were not paid according to wage and labor standards, in addition to being illegal residents. Everyone has probably been serviced by such a worker, whether at a fast food restaurant, in lawn care, maintenance workers at an office we frequent…the list is endless. No one can say their ethnicity has not been part of that loop in some way at some time in history.
Human rights, defined as rights you should have simply because you are human, are interpreted by governments and religions with multitudinous applications, none of which are close to being similar. Martin Luther King Jr. was not the biggest man nor the tallest nor the loudest. I know; I once informally met him on the steps of a federal building shortly before a rally when I was a child. He discouraged people from making their point in the biggest way, the loudest way, or with force. He appealed to the sapient in all of us, based upon a simple belief that “People are not commodities.” He was one man who led a revolution to recognize the human rights of others.
The world is full of people who fear other people fulfilling their dreams. For some reason, the wanting to be better poses a threat to those who are cowards and who, by bullying and criminal acts, falsely claim their faith is their justification. People who are educated will solve problems and cure illnesses. People who are healthy will be more productive. People who are productive feel valued and respected. People who feel valued treat others with respect, even those who differ from them in race, color, creed, gender, age. People who feel their voice has a place have no need to create terror. People who live in peace will live in peace. More importantly, the world lives in peace. Why do these cowards fear the world being a better place?
Peace is not found in the lives of many of today’s children. Refugees are living from hour to hour, chased away from their homes and culture by those whose view them as commodities of little or no value. The brave are willing to die for their voice to be heard. The youth of the world dream and their dreams include the desire for a better life for themselves and their homeland. “This is our future,” said one young protestor said a year ago when African extremists kidnap almost three hundred young girls from their school. “Of course we fight; otherwise, our future is nothing. We are not recognized and no one will speak to us so we must fight.”
What if we had international stock markets that traded in peace? What if peace became the world’s greatest commodity? Sadly, in many political circles, the promise of peace is sold, much like goods on an open market. We need to stop using peace as an excuse for another’s greed. We need to put the meaning of religion back in its practice. Then we would have a future, the future of Dr Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream and the reason for our living. What if our lives could be described as a testament for peace, if peace became the personal hash tag for every social media account?
I too have a dream. My dream is that religion and spirituality will stop being used as an excuse for violence by those from whom religious and spiritual tenets are nowhere to be found. Every bright idea first began with a dream. Every Epiphany is the result of dreams imagines and then realized. My dream is that the world will come to know the purpose of faith – to be a roadmap for the future. Faith believes – believes in hope, in success, in peace, in mankind. It is not and should not be a tool for destruction, for despair, for denial of basic human rights. People are not commodities and children ….children are not mere pawns to be sacrificed on the chessboard of life.
In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday is celebrated as a national holiday in the United States of America today: “With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.”