Esteemed thinker: Martin Luther King Jr.

MLK_memorial_scuplture
MLK Memorial

A prize is an honor that from the earliest stage of our remembrance we have yearned to receive. Some prizes are earned after long and arduous work and commitment, and then some prizes are received after very little work or accomplishments. A prize can be given and accepted as a token, or it can live out well beyond the life of the receiver. Some prizes are cherished and others prizes such as laughter and happiness are seldom acknowledged as such and rather taken for granted.

We find prizes are consumed such as candy which pours out from the innards of a “pinata” after it receives quite a beating and then tumbles down like hail and gathered in a frenzied scurry; while other prizes are worn like jewelry around the neck such as a medal earned by an athlete. Some prizes are trophies to be displayed on the mantle and others are plaques that adorn the wall. Some prizes such as gold have been fought over, plundered for, and even annihilated others for its possession.

And then there is a prize rewarded to those who have accomplished the greatest of deeds, given to one who has dedicated his or her life for the betterment of others. It is a prize distinguished above the rest in hopes that we, humanity, can carry on the work of these individuals. Such a reward is honored and revered and ever so noble; the Nobel Peace Prize. It is a prize that is presented to one that *“shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

Peace… a most cherished prize for us all. Funny, something so valuable is basically a state of being, an idea, a solution, and ever so sensible….

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Today’s post is dedicated to a man who is synonymous with peace, the esteemed thinker: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968). Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. King was a paramount figure in the twentieth-century and a pivotal force behind the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Dr. King’s noted idea of somebodiness gave black and poor people a new sense of worth and dignity. His philosophy of nonviolent action, and his approach for rational and non-destructive social change, awakened the conscience of the United States and redirected the nation’s priorities. His life was tragically cut short when in 1968, standing on his hotel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee, he was assassinated… To this day the nation continues to mourn his death and the loss of a truly great man.

I invite you now to take time out of your hectic day for the words of the illustrious Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Here is a portion selected from his 1964 Nobel Peace Prized acceptance speech….words of wisdom, indeed…

“I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the “isness” of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal “oughtness” that forever confronts him. I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…

I think Alfred Nobel would know what I mean when I say that I accept this award in the spirit of a curator of some precious heirloom which he holds in trust for its true owners – all those to whom beauty is truth and truth beauty – and in whose eyes the beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold…”

* Quote from Alfred Nobel
First image: 1973 steel memorial sculpture by William Tarr

Presidency 101

Why is it that the most important position in the world does not require any prerequisites…? It seems that those who wish to become a President should have adequate expertise in areas of leadership, diplomacy, cultural diversity, Constitutional law, how each federal agency works, specific procedures of all three branches of government, moral and ethical analysis and law.  To name only a few more suggestions, he or she should also be scholarly about past presidents and administrations, how governments around the world govern, world geography, and foreign affairs (both current and past).

To give the job of President over to a person with the only stipulation that he or she is a citizen and won the election does not seem like the most prudent idea. So, I employ a reevaluation for our county’s most important job. Just like in other fields where we expect expertise, a President must be able to see the entire picture, not just the previews.  

Perhaps we should start with Presidency 101 and go on from there.

Political abnormalities, or are they?

The appearance of abnormality in our political climate is daunting to many. However, if one were to observe the phenomena through the lens of the statistical world, it would be simply considered the consequences of an outlier. Which brings me to wonder if the founding fathers brought into account statistics when writing the Constitution.

The basic definition of an outlier is an extreme value that does not follow the norm or the pattern of the majority of our data. Here we need to think of the voting population in terms of data. But what do we do when in politics an outlier rises to the top? What happens when an individual appears to be out of sync with the norm, when an outlier skews everything we are used to? Should we be surprised, or should we look at the human population as a lesson in statistics? The mean (the average in statistics) is non-resistant. That means it’s affected by outliers. More specifically, the mean will want to move towards the outlier. In statistical math, there are several ways to deal with an outlier, remove it or replace the value with one of less extreme. So, taking all this account, we can’t take our current situation as an anomaly.

Eventually, an outlier had to show up.