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Martin Luther King’s Finite Disappointment May as well be Accepted as Only our Actions will Bring Him Hope

When many of us witnessed the attack on the United States Capitol in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021, and saw people die, it made me refer back to a quote stated by Martin Luther King, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

Accepting finite disappointment was something that I was sadly planning for when I was starting New Year as President Donald Trump had made proclamations of never wanting to concede his presidency to President-Elect Joe Biden while having been negatively influential to white nationalists, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups. Although among the members were once decent people who even served our country’s military but committed their actions due to understandable but misplaced anger caused by government ineptitude, their collective need and plan to make sure their icon would stay despite the election being determined fairly and greater injustices happening elsewhere were not only likely antithetical to any code of morality but should have come as no surprise.

Jon Kabat-Zinn wrote “Acceptance means seeing things as they actually are in the present.” (Kabat-Zinn 38)

“Sooner or later we have to come to terms with the things as they are and accept them.” (38)

However, he follows up by stating that “Acceptance does not mean that you have to like everything or that you have to take a passive attitude toward everything and abandon your principles and values. It does not mean that you are satisfied with things as they are or that you are resigned to tolerating things as they ‘have to be.’” (38-39)

“Acceptance as we are speaking of it simply means that you have come around to a willingness to see things as they are. This attitude sets the stage for acting appropriately in your life, no matter what is happening.”

Trump’s followers have not accepted his defeat as the runner-up to the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election and thus caused and may continue to cause harm to those who do not even literally lay a finger on them. Conversely, by fully accepting that injustices still perversely affect people of color and those who mean well but have been wrongfully betrayed, we can take steps to correct issues while acting appropriately. Before doing so, our principles and values need reformation with self-reflection and an understanding of others outside of our daily lives. In order to successfully complete our missions, we must be mindful of our actions and other people so that all can be given justice and resolution to the harm of others shall never be neglected.