Friday, January 13, 2012

Honoring King

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
I would like to dedicate this special post to the memory of a visionary, and in celebration, not of his death, but his life.

This Monday we all enjoy the holiday of Martin Luther King's birthday. Of course, his birthday actually fell on January 15th, but in order to allow as many holidays as possible to land on a Monday, we instead, celebrate his birthday on the third Monday of January.

We should all be thankful for this holiday as it traveled a rocky road coming into being. Campaigning for this holiday began shortly after King's assassination, but many resisted it. Some believed that King's contributions did not warrant a holiday. Others were dead-set against it because of King's personal opinions on the Vietnam war.

The state of Arizona nearly lost its hosting of the Superbowl when it cancelled Columbus day to be replaced by MLK day. Virginia attempted to combine MLK day with the holiday celebrating the birthdays of General Jackson, and General Lee. They finally realized, years later, that combining holidays for two confederate generals with a black civil rights activist would not be ... prudent?

Even Ronald Reagan, the President signing the bill into law in 1983, was not convinced of the need for the holiday. He begrudgingly signed the bill after it was passed by overwhelming majority in congress. The first official MLK holiday was observed in 1986, although all of the United States did not honor the holiday until 2000.

I believe the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. is deserving of a national holiday.

King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his efforts to bring about civil change in a non-violent manner. Think he did nothing to bring about non-violent change. I'll just say this: If it weren't for King, we'd be witnessing change through the likes of Malcolm X and other (not so non-violent) activists.

I would also say that he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace back when it meant something - for things he accomplished. Not like nowadays when the award is given to people such as Barack Hussein Obama  for, I quote:
"His extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."
Seriously? Yes. He was given this award in 2009, after having served in the Presidency for less that six months. The award was given not for something he'd accomplished, rather as a measure of confidence to what he could do. Yeah, how's that working out for you.

Okay enough rant. The bottom line here is that, we should all take the time on Monday, even if it is only a few minutes out of the day, to honor Martin Luther King Jr. for what he was able to accomplish for this country. We should thank him for always striving to bring about tough social change and equality through peaceful protest.

I believe that he did more to educate people on social issues than anyone since. Sure, we can't say we live in anything close to a perfect society yet, and we probably never will, but we're a lot further along then we would be if it weren't for Martin Luther King Jr.

We should all strive to see others by some measure beyond skin color.

We should learn to rejoice in the diversity, and struggles of all people in our society, rather than squabble over such petty things as the pigment of one's skin.

Okay, sir. You can have your soap box back now.