The past year has seen an explosion of violence on Kansas City streets and amid the political discourse.
There were 176 KCMO homicides in 2020 and #BLM riots on the Country Club Plaza cost police more than $2.1 MILLION in addition to widespread economic damage and job losses that now leaves the future of an iconic entertainment district in peril.
Just like many of the perpetrators of the recent Capitol insurrection, BLM rioters from across the political spectrum will not confront prosecution. In fact, the mayor and most of the council worked diligently to pardon activists caught up in the riot scene on the Plaza despite burned cars, violence against innocent people and law enforcement.
And all of this description is simply to note a truism in this cowtown and across the nation:
Nonviolence championed by MLK no longer resonates in the current political discourse.
Sorry, "mostly peaceful" protest doesn't count.
And so we repeat a critical question . . .
HOW CAN ANY LEADER EMBRACE THE LEGACY OF MLK WITHOUT ADVANCING THE PRINCIPLES OF NONVIOLENCE?!?
Sadly . . .
Screaming matches over equality and inclusion are more captivating and garner greater attention than hokey Judeo-Christian hope for harmony among all people.
Still, a commitment to peace and justice is likely the only hope for this nation, Kansas City, our community and even our personal lives. From gunfire on local streets to fighting words freely exchanged online . . . MLK's advancement of nonviolence as the guiding force for political engagement is really the only viable alternative to the chaos which currently rules the national dialogue.
Sadly, a discussion of the philosophy underlying civil disobedience is always hijacked by thugs with their own agenda.
The reality is that for all of his faults, MLK's greatest contribution to the American discourse has been mostly forgotten, even by those who invoke his name. Let's not forget that even during his own career MLK was pushed out of the limelight by his contemporaries and was shot to death leading a low-rent sanitation worker strike.
And so, years-long Kansas City debate over a street dedicated to MLK resulted in a tough compromise, a despicable standoff inside of a church and an upcoming tribute that likely doesn't resonate with anyone under 50-years-old.
Further reading . . .
You decide . . .