MLK’s “Arc” — Hope AND Action {Guest Post}

postcards to voters

“. . . the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. Change takes a long time, but it does happen.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’m probably preaching to the choir, but bear with me here:

The day after the pre-eminent spewer of racist/anti-Semite/misogynistic hatred “parted ways” with Fox “News,” I was watching my “tribe’s” TV news with a never-ending parade of bad-news stories: Supreme Court corruption; the strengths/weakness of the various legal cases against “the former guy”;  the ongoing assault on women’s reproductive rights, voters’ rights, and LGBTQ+ individuals, including trans children; more and more gun violence; racism and “hate crimes.” And on and on.

All of a sudden it was like I was swooped up and had a stratospheric view of our beautiful planet. And I was filled with a flood of—wait for it—optimism! 

Because here’s my bottom line: I believe in Humanity. I believe in the “better angels” sitting on the shoulders of Humanity—and being listened to by a vast majority of Humanity. And I believe in MLK’s arc bending to justice—sooner than later.

Why? Is there any actual grounding for my beliefs vs. their being a fluffy, unrealistic Pollyanna-type view?

If you look for grounding of progress in the corporate news—forget it. For ALL of the corporate-owned media outlets, their financial bottom line depends on keeping its viewers “riled up” and fearful so they’ll continue watching. Yes, some media outlets are more concerned about “truth” than others. But still, all are concerned about their bottom line—ratings and viewership, and thus profits. (BTW—observe how much of what is aired is actual news reporting vs. pundits’ opinions—and pundits have been shown to have a ridiculously low track record of accurate forecasting.)

HOWEVER, if you keep your eyes open, there IS good news. There IS accountability happening: two Tennessee black legislators re-instated to office after being expelled—thus clearly revealing rampant racism in that legislative body. Law enforcement officers, political figures, and business leaders being ousted due to, for example, racist comments or tweets. “Karens” being outed by observers’ phone videos going viral (apologies to you Karens who are NOT “Karens”).

This has all led to historian Heather Cox Richardson writing:

“There were a whole bunch of seemingly unrelated stories in the news [today] that all seem to point to an important theme . . . [there] seems to be a new shift toward transparency and accountability.” —Heather Cox Richardson, April 20, 2023 “Letters from An American” 

So yes, I posit that the arc is bending to justice at an ever-increasing rate. But it “Ain’t there yet” (and yes, that’s an actual song title). There’s more work to be done to bend the arc—and you’re making an important contribution to that happening. So keep it up! And do more. And get friends and family to do likewise.

They say that every generation has to fight their particular battle to save democracy. This is our fight. 

And we WILL succeed.

-Nancy Edelstein 

Photo by Josh Couch on Unsplash

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