Two thousand years ago a young Jewish man from Nazareth in the Roman province of Judea saw great inequities within the Jewish temple. He saw the Rabbi's and Priests, in return for payment, currying special favors on the wealthy...who were forgiven their sins and provided special favors. He and his followers saw great wrongs, temple laws were framed to benefit the rich, and wished to correct these evils and return the temple to serving the masses. He was not seeking to break away from Judaism, but merely see the temple do the right thing. He sought equality for all in the eyes of the temple. He was beaten down by the wealthy and temple elders seeking to retain the status quo.
Fast forward to the end of the 15th century and a young German monk saw great inequities with the Roman Catholic Church. The wealthy were able to buy indulgences from the church. In return for these payments the sins of the rich were erased. There were great wrongs, church laws were framed to benefit the rich. He and his followers wished to correct these evils and return the church to serving the masses. He was not seeking to break away from the church, but merely see it do the right thing, to provide equality for all in the eyes of the church. He too was beaten down by the wealthy and church elders seeking to retain the status quo.
Fast forward once again to the mid-20th century and a young Black man came forth and saw great inequities emanating from the temple on Capitol Hill. He saw great inequities and wished to see them removed. He was not seeking to tear down the system, but instead see it live up to its promise of equality for all. He saw the elders (congress), in return for payment, denying their moral promiseof serving the people, crafting laws currying favors benefiting primarily only the wealthy. He too was beaten down by the wealthy and "church elders" seeking to retain the status quo.
Over the centuries, when armies went into battle it was a great honor to carry the flag, or guidon and be the vanguard into the fight... as the enemy sought to capture the guidon, it took great courage to be the bearer of the guidon... should he fall in battle great courage was required for the next soldier to pick up that guidon and carry on into the fight.
Jesus of Nazareth, Martin Luther and Martin Luther King,Jr. were the guidon bearers of their time, none living to see results of their work... which in no small way is still a work in progress. In no small way all were civil rights proponents. The work of Dr. King was and is a far greater call for far more than racial equality. His was a call for the opportunity to prosper within the system that has brought greatness to this country.
But we are missing one critical element... today we have no guidon bearer leading the way...