Today, we celebrate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King. Today, soon-to-be President Barack Obama has asked us to volunteer to serve our country, for this one day, for just a few hours.
Many will serve because Obama has asked. Many will serve because it is in their nature, Christian or otherwise. Many will not serve, and it is to them I address this post.
My countrymen are hurting. Many have or will lose their jobs. Many have or will lose their homes. Many are hungry. Many more will become hungry. Many have suffered, and many more will suffer before we see better days. Brother, don't you walk away.
My countrymen are hurting. We've sent them to a war that dishonors their final dedication to their nation, to have struggled, fought, died and consecrated the ground they fought on to preserve the American union. They have come back in pine boxes, but also in wheelchairs and on crutches, with injuries both visible and known only to their own hearts. Sister, don't you walk away.
My countrymen are hurting. They look back over these past years and worry what the future will hold. They've seen their life savings wiped out for the greed of men who would not last five minutes on a city street without a chauffeur. They are scared and angry, and need my hand and yours. Brother, don't you walk away.
For in these men and women and children, we see reflected our own faces. They are about our size and about our age, and down a different road might have been our friends and neighbors. But you never know how the road will bend. Sister, don't you walk away.
My brothers and sisters in Africa, in the Middle East, in Asia, all across this globe, are hurting. They suffer from famine and disease, and worse, war and government-sponsored murders. They wake up each morning not knowing if they will go to sleep that night. They wander the day not knowing whether they will have a home to go to, even if they do manage to slip past the daylight and into that good night. Brother, don't you walk away.
My country is hurting. She needs new ideas and new hopes and new dreams to sustain her after eight years of rapacious greed and cynical vampirism. She needs her people to rally around her, to lift her up on her shoulders as she has done countless times in the past for you and me and our fathers and mothers and grandfathers and grandmothers. Sister, don't you walk away.
My country is hurting. She inspires us in good times and comforts us in bad and right now, she needs to be comforted and then inspired once more to the promise and goodness that resides in all of us, the gift of freedom that she has given us that we must now wear more proudly than ever. Brother, don't you walk away.
My country is hurting, and in hurting, I hear the cries of the mother for her children, to help make one more life that much better. She sees the pain and suffering of her people, and the very land under our feet cries out for help. And we can give her that help. Sister, don't you walk away.
My world is hurting. She's scared and angry and rages at the folly of men who would wrest her might for their own selfish purposes. Her body is bruised by bombs and scarred by war, and she aches for her children, this Gaia.
Brother, don't you walk away.
How much difference can one man make? In the grand scheme of things, not much. In just one other life, a lot.
Please, don't walk away.