I first read this in May, and I bookmarked it for later reading. I’ve read it often ever since. I’ve taken the liberty of copying it to share with you. The original can be found here. I’ve “hyperlinked through” the article with relevant references that I hope are helpful. This was written before Obama became the “presumptive” nominee of the Democratic Party.
I find it really calm, reflective and moving. I hope you do too. Enjoy.
Peace and Much Love.
Somewhere beyond the Elysian Fields, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. are the last to leave a celestial forum they’ve nicknamed the Martyrs’ Ball. It is the 40th anniversary of their respective assassinations, so both men are feeling more wistful than usual.
By eternity’s standards, less than a second has passed, but by their lingering sense of how time passes on Earth, they have endured years full of speeches and celebrations crammed into one day. Both were moved to tears by Walt Whitman’s lengthy tribute. He was one of their favorite poets because of his deep knowledge of the American spirit.
Marian Anderson’s voice seemed to reverberate throughout the celestial sphere itself when she fronted a choir that included Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney. She sang all of Martin’s favorite spirituals.
They both mock-grimaced through President John F. Kennedy’s jokes told, as usual, at their expense. JFK still knew how to tease his younger brother. He also reminded Martin Luther King about needing a ghostwriter for his own 50th anniversary Martyrs’ Ball speech in a few years.
“Give me some words that Rev. Jeremiah Wright can’t make fun of and I’ll practice my delivery so that it doesn’t sound like his very bad imitation of my very good inauguration speech,” President Kennedy said as the heavenly hosts roared with laughter.
“One of these days, you’re going to have to stop holding me responsible for everything Rev. Wright says,” Martin said, eliciting yet another round of laughter and applause. Eternity is a place where irony is appreciated.
Standing at the great Reflecting Pool of Reality later that evening, Martin and Bobby look into its crystalline depths, causing the distance between heaven and Earth to part like clouds. Images shimmer into view. Loved ones can be seen. The secrets of men’s hearts are revealed. The political beast stands revealed in all of its nakedness.
Martin puts his arms around Bobby’s shoulder as Sen. Edward Kennedy’s face appears. They scan the newspaper headlines about his brain tumor in silence. “He is making peace with whatever happens,” Bobby says. “Still, my baby brother is no fatalist. He’s in no hurry to be with his older brothers again. Good for him.”
Bobby stirs the waters again. Hillary Clinton’s face comes into view. “Hillary is mentally and spiritually exhausted,” he says.
Bobby gazes at the Democratic presidential candidate’s anguished expression in a time-lapse montage. “The grueling pace of the primary has made her careless. Her ambition is at war with her best instincts.”
Martin stoops to stir the waters of the Reflecting Pool with his index finger. He sees the face of a newborn baby. He smiles with pleasure. “My oldest son and his wife have named my first grandchild Yolanda Renee King,” Martin announces with pride. “That thunder you hear coming from the celestial mountains is the sound of Coretta jumping for joy.”
“Congratulations, Martin,” Bobby says. The civil rights leader stirs the waters once more. Democratic frontrunner Barack Obama’s face comes into view.
“It’s hard to believe a mere four decades has passed since we both slipped the bonds of Earth,” Martin says. “The evolution of America’s racial attitudes in a generation is as big a miracle as the two of us standing here reacting to it. We are witnessing a milestone in the nation’s history.”
“Is this truly Barack Obama’s moment, Martin? Is he the spiritual heir to your ‘I Have a Dream’ ethos, or will he succumb to worldly pragmatism and do whatever it takes to win?”
“Like every man, he finds himself resisting the temptation to take shortcuts,” Martin says. “He is so close to grasping the prize that he can almost taste it. But there is danger in this moment as well. There are many sick and deluded men and women who will not abide his election to the highest office of the land. What will their rage compel them to do about it?”
They listen to Barack Obama delivering the commencement address at Wesleyan University as Teddy Kennedy’s stand-in. They are impressed by his eloquence and his heart for changing America. It feels visionary to them. It feels familiar.
“My brother loves this man. Now I can see why. He is as charismatic as you once were,” Bobby says.
[From George Lois and Esquire]
“I beg to differ,” Martin says. “This young man definitely has more Kennedy in him than King.”
Suddenly, the waters grow dark and Martin and Bobby’s reflections return to the surface of the water. “Even we don’t have the right to see the future, Martin, but I still have a good feeling about it.”
Martin Luther King sighs. “Whatever happens — all will be well,” he says. “We have the rest of eternity to learn and absorb that truth.”
PS: I suspect that the Clinton camp will still try to usurp Obama’s nomination and confirmation at the upcoming convention. Let’s hope good sense prevails.
PPS: I had already ‘written’ and formatted this post, and was intending to publish it the day before the Convention was due to start, i.e., Aug. 24th.
With the latest news of Hillary’s name being added to the ballot, I thought it best to publish now.
Peace and Much Love,