By Reverend Dr. Otis Moss, Jr.
Every day, some speaker, writer, analyst, teacher, commentator or someone in casual conversation quotes the words of Dr. King. However, there are two things we often miss or avoid. The first is Dr. King’s total commitment to non-violence and social and political transformation – a revolution of values. Secondly, Dr. King’s sermon topic sent to the church secretary for the Sunday worship at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, before his assassination, “Why America May Go to Hell.” I had a conversation with the late Rev. A. D. King, Dr. King’s younger brother, prior to that Sunday. He informed me that he was preaching at Ebenezer that Sunday in memory of his brother and would use the same topic, “Why America May Go to Hell.” That challenge is on the ballot fifty-two years later!
Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr., “Daddy” King preached a sermon several times following Dr. King’s death from the topic, “Disturbed about America.” “Daddy” King’s message was based on justice and injustice. How we treat the “least of these.” I believe Dr. Martin Luther King’s sermon was to be anchored in the Biblical parable that Jesus gave on the “Rich Man and Lazarus,” found in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter sixteen, verses nineteen through thirty-one (Luke 16:19-31).
I believe the word for November 3rd is a choice for a new beginning, or, a “long and desolate midnight” (Martin Luther King, Jr.). It is a choice between a hellish tomorrow or a hopeful future. The choice between human hell and moral hope…A hope anchored in the ideals of democracy, equal rights, human rights, and the struggle for liberation and justice.
Democracy is not a fixed inevitability. It is not a guaranteed commodity. It is an ideal that each generation must fight and vote to gain and/or retain and maintain.
One of the world’s most murderous dictators declared: “By means of shrewd lies, unremittingly repeated, it is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell – – and hell is heaven. The greater the lie, the more readily it will be believed.” But Jesus said: “The truth will make you free.” Eventually truth with its’ steady beat will track down and overcome the most vicious falsehoods. This must be our powerful word on November 3rd.
When I called on October 9 to wish our older son, Kevin, a Happy Birthday, his most enthusiastic response was that he used his birthday (October 9) to cast an early vote! An early vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Our younger son, Otis, III., has just produced a twelve (12) minute film on overcoming voter suppression.
I am convinced that the whole future of America is on the ballot on November 3, 2020. Our oldest grandchild, Alexis, got up early on October 22 to cast an early vote for Biden and Harris. Before leaving home, she informed her two daughters where she was going and why. This is the “gift that keeps on giving.”
The life of our democracy is on the ballot. Health and healing are on the ballot. Selma is on the ballot. The Selma March is on the ballot. Memphis and Dallas are on the ballot. Hell and Hope are on the ballot. Edwina and I have already cast our early ballot for Biden and Harris. It is our firm belief that the future of our nation is on the ballot November 3, 2020.