On Martin Luther King Day, how can we keep hope alive when we fear what's ahead?

On Martin Luther King Day, how can we keep hope alive when we fear what's ahead?

It's odd that on Martin Luther King Day, I am thinking about the last time I felt scared for this nation's survival. I was just a child. It was back in the 1950s and early 1960s when school air raid drills were as common as hopscotch and jump ropes were at recess. 

I remember the teacher telling us solemnly to line up in single file. I remember her marching us to the hallway where we stood erect on black and red tiles, our backs to the lockers. I remember the fear.

I remember the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was 1962; John F. Kennedy was president. The Soviets had deployed nuclear missiles in Cuba.

I remember being at the local youth center during the 13- day crisis. While other kids were laughing and whooping it up, I was consumed with thoughts of Soviet bombs being headed in my direction.

I remember how tense a time it was. I remember the fear.

Since then, sure, we've been involved in wars, but they took place in other people's countries, countries not as mighty as our own.

I'm feeling the fear again because millions of people believe Trump's Big Fat Lie--among multiple other lies, the one in which he is the winner of the 2020 election and that the election was stolen from him.

On January 6, we saw the havoc and terror the Big Fat Lie brought. We watched in horror, as insurrectionists stormed the Capitol Building in Washington.

We watched scenes we thought we'd only see in third-world countries, other people's countries, not in the bastion of freedom and democracy, the United States of America.

Armed protests are not only said to be planned for Washington, but in the capitols of every state in this now fractured union.

With a lifetime of experience behind me, instead of ahead, I'm scared to death what will happen here in this country I hardly recognize anymore in the hours, days, months, years to come.

Will there be orchestrated insurrections all over the country? Will some members of the National Guard--who are loyal to Trump, abandon the Constitution and conduct themselves in treasonous behavior? Will we see more murder and mayhem? Will Joe Biden, the winner of a free election, be inaugurated? Will this be the end of our beloved democracy?

Something that was unthinkable not long ago--except in movies and fictional books-- is now a possible reality. Martin Luther King would be shedding tears.


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  • Well put, Judy. But what use is hope when everything is coming up roses? If I have a garden full of roses and hope for more, I'm just going to look greedy to most people. Hoping for the best, for a peaceful transfer of power, used to be my idea of "Oh, he's just talking to fill time" when I watched presidents being inaugurated. (I've been interested as long as I can remember, partly because I was born on the day of President Kennedy's funeral.) But now I doubt that it will ever feel like "just filling time" to talk about peaceful transfers again. I am feeling hopeful just writing those words.

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