This was written on Monday August 28, 2017.
On this day 7 years ago, I woke up in Washington, DC after spending the previous day attending a conference with many other UNdivided Americans from all around our republic. As a group, we either took buses or walked down to the Lincoln Memorial, where we joined half a million others for the Restoring Honor Rally.
There was a sea of people, stretching from the Lincoln Memorial all the way to the Washington Monument. Interestingly, the day happened to be the same day in history where 47 years prior, Martin Luther King Jr. had spoken from this venue so eloquently about his dream of a character based, color-blind America, one where all men would be judged by the content of their character.
On this 47th anniversary of King’s “Content of Character” speech, half a million gathered to talk about faith, integrity, honor, courage and accountability – all character traits, which should be color blind, or as I like to say, non-respecter of person traits.
Following the historic event, as I left, I remember stopping to ask questions of two groups of people: The Park Police and the main stream media. I asked individuals representing both groups what they thought about the cleanliness of this assembly, specifically the collective effort to pick up all our trash, desiring to leave the park in a better condition than we had found it. Both groups agreed, this was extremely impressive. The second question was, as the speakers articulated visions of faith, integrity, honor, courage and accountability – did they hear anything which could be construed as racist. The answer was no.
Just four years prior, the majority of this group on the mall couldn’t have imagined themselves investing a day at a rally.
However, as a result of the George W. Bush Bailouts, many of these good folks had begun holding rallies out of anger directed toward a crony-capitalistic political system, where individuals within corporations who had made poor business decisions were being protected and bailed out. Rallies continued during the era of the highly partisan, largely crony-capitalistic driven legislation of the 2010 healthcare reform bill. The view of most at the Restoring Honor Rally was that both major policies, driven by administrations of supposedly opposing political sides, were benefiting an elitist class, while actually hurting middle America. This had resulted in a great amount of anger.
I could write a lot about that anger, which many believed was righteous anger; however, I will simply state the Restoring Honor Rally came at a time when that anger needed to be channeled into a positive force highlighting truly non-respecter of person, character based traits.
I have great hope today, because I believe 10’s of thousands of those half a million folks are engaged back in their local communities, striving to steer public policy in a direction which provides the best result for our entire country, regardless of the divisions being exacerbated by the media and a very small minority of our population today.
I do believe there is a place for righteous anger; however, anger without wisdom and honor is folly, and much of what we are witnessing is anger without wisdom or honor. Personally, I believe the numbers are much smaller than the media reports, and significantly smaller than what we witnessed at the Restoring Honor Rally. It is my hope and prayer that there will be leaders who harness this anger, and rather than foment it, rally these small group to focus on the character traits listed above. That would be honoring to Martin Luther King’s legacy, a man who truly believed that more unites us than divides us.