In the political world, it’s easy to demonize the other side. Those bastards want to abolish the social safety net! Those freaks want to let men marry men! We often forget that, in most cases, the freaks and bastards aren’t being evil but instead sincerely believe that they’re working to make the world a better place.
If you’re involved in politics, regardless of which side you’re on, you likely started doing it because you wanted to advance some noble goal. Of course there are sleazoids out there, and of course humans are very good at rationalizing actions whose results will be bad for the rest of us, but I honestly believe that the majority of people in the political world are acting out of a reasonably sincere desire to improve things. Very few of us are villains in our own stories or our own minds.
With that reminder, let’s take a second to look at one of those moments when a person and his words really did change the world, when someone did succeed in making lives easier and prospects brighter, when someone did help make this often-ugly political process yield to a higher cause. On MLK Day, take a few minutes to watch, to listen and to dream of futures better.
Originally published January 15, 2007