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. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Yesterday was an exceptionally warm day for January in Colorado. My Wife and I celebrated by visiting Denver’s Civic Center to take photos. It was a time to play with art, to get inspired and to take in a good dose of vitamin D. For those of you who haven’t been there, Civic Center is encompassed by the Colorado Capital, the Denver City and County building, the Denver Art Museum and high-rise central. The setting is one that reminds me of what one might find in Washington D.C., it’s a place where a lot of people can gather to express themselves collectively whether in celebration or demonstration. I couldn’t hold back thoughts of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream”speech. Ironically, just this morning did I realize that Monday is the annual government holiday in honor of him.
When I watch the news about national and world events these days I ponder, Will we ever mature to the point where we deserve to call ourselves ManKind? The current state of human existence seems to be much more about selfish agendas, ideological muscle flexing on steroids. Personally, I’m getting fed up with the polarized extremist factions on both sides of the aisle, on all sides of religion and at the ends of the earth. I’m getting fed up with the radical minority of who ruthlessly kill and destroy to get what they want and I’m getting fed up with the vocal minority who preach Love and demonstrate intolerance.
Paris is a wake up call, even an unfortunate and likely foreshadowing of the future. The pissing match of the extremes will continue to escalate until we find a new world order. MLK was all about overcoming the odds and establishing just that. “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend” he said a half century ago. And here we are now celebrating the birth of the man, yet in so many ways we seem to have forgotten his message. He said “The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood” and those words created a spark that changed the world. That was then and this is now.
As Artists, we are often the first to stand up and lay claim to the First Amendment. To us, freedom of speech equals an unalienable right to express ourselves through our Art. The thing that Hollywood and perhaps even a partisan satirical magazine seems to have forgotten is that if we use our art to alienate others based on their religious beliefs or ideology, we are guilty of violating the very spirit of the first amendment. If we use our art (and our RIGHTS) to taunt those who are different, how are we any better than the playground bully?
I’ve seen the healing power and the dividing power of Art. Shouldn’t Art transcend Religion and Ideology. Shouldn’t Artists be Peacemakers? MLK said “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”. Like MLK, I’ve got a dream too. I have a dream that the world wide web might serve as a world wide venue for a demonstration of positive change. I have a dream that my children and their children will grow up in a more enlightened world. I have a dream that future generations will look back at this dark time and see that the re-birth of Mankind grew from a seeds that were planted by Artists .