As we prepare to honor the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., our nation faces some serious questions about “The Dream.”
A slew of states across the U.S. are feverishly passing laws to crush the increased numbers of voters who live in urban areas as well as individuals of color.
Under the guise of making elections more secure, legislators are engaging in tactics such as gerrymandering, decreasing polling locations, criminalizing the distribution of water and snacks to voters waiting in long lines and restricting mail-in ballots.
Although records indicate that the 2020 election was one of the most secure elections in American history, a significant number of people believe that the election was “stolen.”
The United States Capitol was under siege on Jan. 6, 2021, by violent and misguided protestors who chanted, “Hang Mike Pence,” as they overwhelmed the Capitol police force, beating them with flag poles, tasing them, crushing them in doors, spitting upon them, kicking them and threatening to kill them.
Indeed, several police officers died from injuries endured – some physical, some psychological.
The hostile mob stormed the building, desecrated offices, busted windows, broke down doors and hunted for House and Senate members who they viewed as enemies of their agenda.
Their goal was to “stop the steal” and to overturn the will of hundreds of thousands of U.S. voters who legitimately, securely and with great determination, selected a new president.
The divisions within America continue to be stoked by media outlets peddling profound mistruths, preying upon those who are angry over disenfranchisement on different levels and convincing the ill-informed to embrace xenophobic tropes, blaming the wrong groups of people for their struggles.
In the midst of all of the aforementioned injustices, voting rights legislation remains stalled in the U.S. Senate.
Without federal legislation to restore consistent and just voting laws, our democracy remains in peril.
King’s family is calling for a suspension of the MLK Day celebrations across America until the voting rights bills are passed and become law.
It appears that King’s dream of a nation with equal rights under the law and harmonious living across all races is being upstaged by the nightmare of our current realities.
The good news, however, is that we remain a democracy.
In spite of the injustices that are swelling up throughout America, we still have the power to vote and stand for a better, more just social order.
As people of faith, we can continue to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God. We have the power to reach individuals with the love of Christ, education and common sense.
We also have the power to have peaceful protests, write our legislators and hold them accountable for their inaction.
May we who know better do all we can through prayer, faith and involvement to help change the tide of this death spiral.
God is with us. Keep hope alive – and the Dream!
Editor’s note: This article is the first in a series for Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2022.
Senior pastor of Restoration Ministries of Greater Cleveland. She is the author of “Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling: Equipping and Encouraging Female Pastors.”