I believe that those of all races and religious conviction who truly seek to honor the life and work of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. will choose words of peace before words of malice. They will choose forgiveness, not retribution. They will, as Dr King did, attempt to persuade others by sound reasoning and their own right conduct.

Dr. King earned respect, he did not demand it.

I believe that he truly forgave those who despitefully used him and persecuted him.

I believe that he prayed for his enemies.

I believe he understood that coercion, intimidation and aggression would never bring about meaningful or lasting change.

I believe he understood that the only way to effect lasting change is to convince others of the rightness of your cause.

Sadly, some have chosen to express anger at Gov. Paul LePage’s decision to decline an invitation to dinner. The governor’s response to the criticism was equally disappointing.

I believe supporters of the NAACP would have better honored Dr King’s memory by expressing disappointment that the governor’s schedule did not allow him to attend this year and optimism that he would be able to attend next year.

I believe the governor would have been wiser to answer his critics by acknowledging the fact that some political opponents would seek to gain advantage by criticizing his decision. That is regrettable.

In my opinion, anyone, in any political party or civic organization, attempting to use Martin Luther King Day as a tool to gain political advantage is dishonoring his legacy.

Harold W. Jones III, Monmouth

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