Today is Martin Luther King, Jr, Day, January 19, 2009. All across Athens this morning, from 9am to noon, and even going into this afternoon, people of all races gathered in common cause. We chose to participate in Athens’ MLK Day of Service to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, whose efforts at social justice and equality for African Americans were made in concert with members of other communities, and not just his. We chose to participate in this in order to help the city of Athens and to demonstrate that by continually working together as separate communities, with differing ideals, we can yet perfect our greater community.

I left this morning at 8:25, for whatever reason anticipating a slow time in traffic. So upon arriving at the worksite at 8:30 I expected to wait. But that was not the case. Rather, a small contingent of volunteers had already arrived and we quickly began our task – to clean up the Greenway by College Ave and MLK Jr Drive and rid it of masses of overgrowth.

We did it. We didn’t get paid for it. We did it out of our mutual love and respect of our community.

Today is now Wednesday, January 21, 2009.

President Obama, and what a thrill it is to write that!, has called upon us as Americans to renew our promise of greatness to our country. President Obama understands that getting us out of this current crisis of confidence requires more than empty words with ambiguous goals.

Yesterday, President Obama called on all of us to summon our strengths to pull together and renew our pledge to each other. It’s a funny thing, really. We united as kids to recite the pledge of allegiance every day. Sure, you’re pledging your allegiance to your country, but what else is there?

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

With liberty and justice for all. Maybe with the start of the new administration we might revisit what those words mean. They certainly mean more than spreading liberty in other lands while having liberties at home mocked by the people we charge to defend them. And justice will surely be granted, in the form of due process and trial by jury and not by the blind administration of justice, by means of torture, indefinite incarceration, and brute force.

Indivisible – we are not red state and blue state: we are one nation. It’s time our leaders recognize this. We in Athens came together from separate neighborhoods to improve our city as a whole. We in America can surely come from our separate states to better our nation.

Let us so go forth.

-rl

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