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Monday, January 16, 2012

A HARD LOOK AT MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY


Today is a Federal holiday, Martin Luther King Day.  There are 10, with only three named after people:  Washington, King and Columbus.  From most reports, Reverend King was not a good person:  foul-mouthed, chain-smoker, drunk, plagiarist, prevaricator, philanderer...maybe even bisexual and Marxist (communist)...and apparently did not believe in Jesus Christ.

Where is Lincoln?  Well, he is part of Presidents' Day, with George Washington.  Why Columbus?  Because he discovered America.  But Martin Luther King, Jr. (his father was also Reverend Martin Luther King)?  He earned a PhD from Boston University, was a Nobel Laureate and did change America with his civil rights dream.  MLK overcame, and our Nation is now a better place.  

He had almost moved on to fighting poverty and protesting the Vietnam War when he was assassinated in 1968.  He would have been 83 (Elvis Presley--who recorded "If I Can Dream" two months later--would have been 77).  While James Earl Ray was convicted of this murder, there are more conspiracy theories than JFK's, with the Federal government implicated in a subsequent trial.  Even his Memorial has controversy, as an etched in stone (top photo) quote referring to "drum major," will need to be adjusted.

Regarding MLK Day itself, the first bill was introduced by Congressman John Conyers (from Michigan, who is the third longest-serving person in Congress, to Congressman John Dingell, also from Michigan, and Senator Dan Inouye, of Hawaii--they both have been in Congress more than half a century), and the arduous process took 15 years, Senator Ted Kennedy coming to the rescue.  The opposition included Senator Jesse Helm and then Congressman John McCain.  Congressman Ron Paul (below with President Ronald Reagan) voted against, with the statement:

Boy, it sure burns me to have a national holiday for Martin Luther King. I voted against this outrage time and time again as a Congressman. What an infamy that Ronald Reagan approved it! We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day."

But this was 1968, 44 years ago.  Yet,  CNN reports that Paul's newsletters in the 90's appeared to be racist.  Can people change?  I think so, for I have.

National polls generally support this holiday, except that, save for a few parades, people generally just enjoy this day off from work.  Really, not much that different from most of the other holidays.  I'm ambivalent.

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