I was born in a decade of civil unrest. Riots, anger, supremist mentality…despite the summer of love, the sixties echoed with turmoil and hatred. Rising in the time were brave voices, strong resistors, people who fought for what they believed in without fists or bloodshed. Where are the Martins and Bobbys now? Who would step up and fill Rosa's shoes, advocate with Medger, lead with JFK? Turbulent times called for calm leadership, and someone always stepped up.
After a visit to Memphis, I'm left wondering who could step forward now. With the rising youth movement of gang mentality, a sense of entitlement from most under the age of twenty, a dropout rate soaring…we need a Martin Luther King, Jr. Someone to stand up and open the eyes of a generation blind to the realities of the world they're ignoring. Are we leaving that to the idols of today? Eminem? Allen Iverson? Michael Vick?
There are saviors, but too many of us pay little attention to what matters. Movements center on the environment, politics, religion…while these rank high on the importance list, nothing outweighs the future of our youth.
I was in junior high during the late seventies -- skyrocketing gas during the energy crisis, hostages in Iran, a peanut farmer's down-home attitude in the White House. Being a teenager was tough, times were tough, but nothing like the Civil Rights era. And now…years after most nations have long-since had female and minority leaders, the U.S. continues to battle issues spawned by racism and classism. We've gotten nowhere, except in the midst of an overly obsessed era of political correctness. Coupled with the spiral down a drug-gang toilet, we've succeeded in preserving all the worst components of past decades. My generation saw to that.
Violence has been a central theme in our nation since its inception. Good for us…at least we have some nostalgia for our past. It's time for someone to step up, to impose a positive spin on a generation in dire need of help, of leadership, of hope.
We can only pray people will listen.