Today the nation celebrates the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a day of service.
I can think of few more appropriate ways to honor a man who espoused non-violence and humility in the face of oppression and rage. Service to our community, service to our fellow men and women, even as small as buying a friend a sandwich for lunch or giving a quarter to the homeless guy who sleeps in the subway, sounds like small potatoes in the face of the service that Dr. King gave to this nation.
But it's a start. Obviously, the more you can give to your community, the more important your work can be.
It strikes me that, in this day and age of faux-libertarianism, as espoused by the massively zealous support Ron Paul gets as an icon of that movement, we forget that community is based on service, on responsibilities. That with the Rights we all cherish so dearly comes a second edge to the sword of freedom: duty.
Or, as Dr. King put it: "An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."
As eloquent as I can be, as soaring as my rhetoric can take flight, I find myself biting back envy when I read how elegantly and simply Dr. King can make a point.
See, Dr. King, for all his renown as a great racial equalitarian, understood that ultimately the battle for equality would be fought on an economic front, that no man, white or black, could be free so long as he was shackled economically, and opportunity was available to him to give back to the community what he took from it.
Yes, the plight of the minority was something he worked tirelessly to fix, but in his words you find countless references to lifting all people. You see: