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Alexander Hamilton and Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Dean Whittaker

While in Chicago recently I had the opportunity to experience the Rap musical, Hamilton, which is about the founding of the United States. It stirred in me a renewed interest in the history of our country and the people that helped bring it about.

After the play I began re-learning the Articles of Confederation with the power vested in the State, the drafting of the Constitution with more power vested in the central government shared among the three branches of government, executive, congressional, and judicial with checks and balances, and the Federalist Papers written to promote the signing of the Constitution.

While we lay mired in a struggle between the President and Congress, I realize that we’re still in the midst of forming our country. The discourse, debate and compromise that took place when this country was formed seems to have been lost along the way.

This month we celebrate the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr. to honor his contribution to civil rights and social justice. His leadership helped bring about a more just society, but we have a long way to go. Still listening to his words gives me hope. As I sit at my desk writing this article, I wonder what I can do to re-ignite in me the passion that Martin Luther King, Jr. exemplified. Where did he find the energy, courage, and stamina to lead a movement that is still ongoing?

Over the weekend I watched a story unfold as a group of young men were both pilloried and exonerated in the court of public opinion also known as social media. I realized now how quick I am to judge others when it confirms my preconceived opinions. Perhaps my greatest take away was when my spouse cautioned me that there are many sides to a story, and I was only hearing and seeing one. Hopefully, I can take away a few lessons from this experience.

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