Mr. King was neither a Democrat, nor a Republican. He had higher standards

One of my acquaintances from high school posted on Facebook that, believe it or not, Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican. I had never heard that before and I’m still not sure I believe it now. But at the very least, if he had been a Republican he certainly wasn’t a typical one. Not to mention a republican in the 1960’s was very different from what we have in 2013. Here’s the article if you’re inclined to read it, taken from an online conservative newspaper. Personally, I couldn’t get through it on my first try.

The fact of the matter is MLK did not identify himself with either of the two leading parties. He existed outside of the political ideology. He was more of a pacifist, and an idealist, than a democrat or a republican. In a 1958 interview, he said of the two parties that “I don’t think the Republican party is a party full of the almighty God nor is the Democratic party. They both have weaknesses … And I’m not inextricably bound to either party.”

That’s kind of how I feel too. I think of myself as a liberal, a progressive and most times a democrat. But I’m not married to any one political party or stance. I’m open minded and I’m always gathering more information to find the truth that we all can share in. I’m not looking to “win” or “beat” the opposing side. The victory I seek is for all Americans, all citizens of the world.

There are all sorts of characterizations being made based on MLK’s actions by both ends of the political spectrum, but it seems obvious to me that he existed outside of the political realm. Some things are bigger than politics.

I think a lot of things are bigger than politics. And the way of finding real solutions to some of our biggest problems has to supersede party affiliation. That is why MLK was such a radical revolutionary, and why he is remembered so glowingly. He found the unbiased and unadulterated truth and championed that, for all to enjoy, for all to celebrate. No political party has the right to claim such an ideal as their own.

Looking back through some of the history listed in the article I linked above, I wonder about its validity, sure. But I am also intrigued by the differences that the parties have championed over the years. It says to me not that one party is better than the other, or that one has shown greater courage or dignity over time, but that the process is working. The process of debate and conversation helps us find out the truth.

It isn’t one side that has made us great and the other side that tears us down. It is the coming together in cooperation that has brought our greatest triumphs. Participating actively in the process of government not only makes it work better, it makes our lives better. Sometimes that means working for the establishment, and other times it means working against it. Learning the dance is our legacy and it was MLK’s as well.

Remember the man that was Martin Luther King, happy birthday!


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