One who breaks an unjust law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
My friend recently asked me if I was proud to be an American. “I don’t think of it that way,” I said.
I am not proud of how we’ve destroyed lives and culture in the name of greed, national ego, misguided improvements. I am not proud of a country that squanders its resources, and those of other countries, with no end in sight. I am not proud of how we marginalize the sick, the crazy, the poor, the odd, the different, the hippies, the lovers, the homely, the deformed, the lost who wander among us.
I am not proud that well into the 20th century, women, Blacks and gays were denied basic human rights, freedoms doled out to some but not all. And that even into the 21st century, we’re still not quite there.
But tonight, watching these videos, I am brought to tears by the vision, the passion and the unwavering commitment to fairness of these people.
And tomorrow, as I watch Obama take his oath of office, I will be disdainful of how long it’s taken us to get here. But I will be proud that we are here, and that the whole world is watching.