Today, let's take a little break from the colossal popularity contest of our primary elections to honor and reflect upon the lives and continuing influence of world leaders who were not elected to public office, but led by example. Martin Luther King, of course, who stirred the souls of so many, freely cited the example of Gandhi, who cited the influence of the writings of Thoreau.
While it is clear that the impact of these three men will continue to be felt for a very long time, and probably longer than that of many who have been elected to office, it is also becoming increasingly clear that the struggles they faced are not over. Increasingly clear that the only fitting way to show respect is not to set aside a "day" of honor, but to continue those struggles in every moment, in every thought, in every act of our lives. Too much to ask? Maybe, maybe.
Maybe they put themselves on the line imagining that injustice would end, but I doubt that any of the three were so naive. More likely, I think, that they knew they were asking us to be more than we think we are, to do more than we think we can.
- Ralph Murre