Love thy neighbor

A lesson from Martin Luther King Jr.

Stephen M., Staff Writer

Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most influential and inspiring members of the Civil Rights Movement in America during the 1950s and 60s, was able to persevere through perhaps some of the darkest times in the United States by meeting chaos with peace, and spite with love.

The entirety of the past year can be summed up in one word: turmoil. America has seen anger, uncertainty, and above all, spite. 

With a new administration taking power in the White House, the constant debate over politics, and protests that shook the nation for months on end, it seems as though America has never been this divided before. However, even with this turmoil, everyone in this country can still unify as a nation and start anew with a path in which Americans stand united. After all, that is the first word in our country’s name.

Although, not everyone is that open to this idea, whether it be the pride some people feel or the unwillingness to accept new ideas. Regardless,  it is vital that Americans lend their ears to one another and maintain an open mind. It was recently that Martin Luther King Jr.’s day passed. Americans must take inspiration from his life’s work.  

Through the toughest and darkest of times, Dr. King was able to strive for reconciliation in a time in which spite in America was at an all-time high. Through conveying dignity towards the people that disagreed with him, and having the power to listen to the opinions of others respectfully, Dr. King was able to strive for love while others decided to strive for hatred. Anyone can take these lessons, learn from them, and unify in a way just like he did.

Thus, this is one of the most important factors to consider as all Americans try to bind our nation’s wounds and start seeing eye to eye again. The ability to listen to one another with respect and an open mind can have an extraordinary impact on not only our country but our families, our communities, and so many other areas. 

“I think that it starts with listening to one another. We need to listen to the ideas, the opinions, and the experiences of people that are different from ourselves. We need to listen to the ideas that we do not necessarily agree with, and not listen to them so that we can look to refute them, but listen to them so that we can understand what their context is and why people feel the way that they do,” said social studies teacher Richard Suchopar. 

As stated, Americans must maintain an open mind and try our hardest to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes to understand the other person’s feelings. With this, everyone in America can hopefully unite together, just as Dr. King did over half a century ago. 

These ideas of division in our country and community, and the hatred that one side feels towards the other harm the nation as a whole. 

Please think of the United States of America as a house. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “ a house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Therefore, no matter the difficulty or ease America may experience, everyone in this country must welcome one another and listen to each other. If all Americans do this, there is no telling the unity that our families, our community, and our country can experience. Even if all is not okay right now, and our country is shrouded in uncertainty, it is a great comfort to know that, in the end, there is light in the darkness. Perhaps everyone in the United States, united as one people, can be that light and overcome said darkness that our country is submerged in. 🔳