As MLK day approaches: take inventory of snapshots

14 Jan

I am contemplating how some folks I have come across in various circles idealize MLK.  This isn’t a post about his methods.  This is about leadership and collective work.  I have met many progressive folks calling for a new MLK type of leader.

I do not think it is productive to remember our leaders this way.  In fact this cult of “the one” can be quite dangerous.  It is as if we put all our hopes and investments in the labor of another.  That axis of change twists upon one person.

What about you?  Where are you at?  What is your contribution?  I contend that most people that do idealize leaders of our past is because they probably see part of themselves in those leaders.  They see a snapshot of what they hope they can be or are capable of becoming.

I think the present and the future does not need a new King, Malcolm, Rizal, Bonifacio, Sakay, C. Chavez, Itliong, Vera Cruz, Silang, Barros, Huey, TWLF – you get the picture.  The present and the future needs you.  It needs these histories of our folk heroes and sheroes to move beyond mere historical artifacts – they cannot be mere pride pieces.

Take inventory of those snapshots of your heroes and sheroes inside of you.  Birth new thoughts.  Give it speech.  Then to action.  More importantly I think you’ll find that you will be able to share these snapshots, these principles, inside of others.

We don’t need a new MLK.  Indeed the present and future is better served with committed people who recognize, express, and act upon the traces left in us by our heroes and sheroes.  Take stock of their failures (our heroes and sheroes got em) and their victories.  I think we commemorate their work/histories better by re-materializing it in our own lives.   Do all of that collectively.

Happy MLK Weekend

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2 Responses to “As MLK day approaches: take inventory of snapshots”

  1. B-Weapons January 14, 2011 at 6:21 pm #

    The antonym of forgetting is not remembering, but justice.

    • banpen January 15, 2011 at 5:57 pm #

      An excellent way to put it.

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