January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King Day

I may hate holidays, but not this one. I loved this man. He was a shining light and a courageous leader. Who knows where the country would be with respect to race relations if Martin Luther King, Jr. had never existed? Although I typically make fun of America's hollow, empty holidays, this day is a different story.

Unfortunately, two "friends" smudged the holiday for me. On MLK Day a few years back, I called these two people, a married couple whom I considered among my closest friends. And they made fun of the day and the man. I won't repeat the things they said. Trust me that they were sickening.

After I called them out for being racist pigs, I never spoke to them again. If I met them in the street today, I would shun them. You don't get to make fun of this man, at least not in my presence. You just don't. So now I think of MLK Day not only as a holiday to cheer the man and his accomplishments -- but as a day to watch others and see how they react.

I have found that MLK Day is a shining marker that separates the decent people from the racist pigs. You can try this yourself. Feel people out today about their feelings for the man and the holiday. On the one hand, it's a sad thing to do with such a meaningful holiday. But you'll learn who among your friends is a good person, and who is an animal. This can be useful. So: enjoy the day and remember the man. But remember that it also makes racist pigs drool with hatred.

In a way, I wish those "friends" had never said those things, never sullied the day for me. I liked my Martin Luther King holiday better before. So maybe I shouldn't have mentioned this today. But I find truth attractive; I don't try to avoid it. MLK Day is an inspiring day for most Americans. And it also provides a way to tell the good people from the bad. And that's a fact.

Now, let's end on a high note. Here's Martin Luther King, Jr., the day before his death:
"And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."
Sometimes people can say religious things, and it's perfectly all right. That was one of them.


Artichoke Annie said...

It was this holiday two years ago when President Obama made his National Day of Service speech in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and his own service. The President reminded us not to serve just on this one day but everyday.

It was because of MLK Day and President Obama speech that I was prompted to do my volunteer work at Wings of Hope.

For too many years I would say nothing if a comment was made about blacks, but like you I speak up and have for some time. It is no longer acceptable not anywhere and never in my presence.

writenow said...

Good for you!

Artichoke Annie said...

3 people shot at Gardena High School
Los Angeles Times | January 18, 2011 | 11:12 a.m.

And so the day of peace has ended.