Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Remembering A Good Doctor...As We See Fit

Growing up, I didn't think much of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. As I recall, school was held as usual and there was little in the way of local observance otherwise. Like Columbus Day, the holiday amounted to little more than a closed post office, an upsurge in the sale of related commemorative postage stamps and, some years, a brief feature on network news.

I wonder if such ignorance of the holiday didn't have something to do with an ignorance - or worse - of the man. Furthermore, I sometimes believe this ignorance was due, in part, to geographical region. Were things different in upstate New York? Michigan? New Mexico? Today, the state of Virginia celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - always the third Monday in January - by sandwiching the preceding weekend with a holiday all the state's own, Robert E. Lee/Stonewall Jackson Day. That's right, federally employed Virginians are granted a four day weekend, one set aside to remember Martin Luther King, Jr, a great civil rights/humanitarian activist, and two great generals of the Southern Confederacy. It does give one pause, even if my Southern roots - and half-hearted loyalty - want to believe that the new holiday is a celebration of state's rights rather than a blatant, racist attempt to sabotage any veneration of King.

And yet it's clear that attacks on - and bastardizations of - King's legacy are not limited to the southeastern United States. In September 2004, the U.S. Army published a recruiter handbook for distribution via their School Recruiting Program (SRP). The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 grants military recruiters the same access to middle and high school students' information that was previously available only to colleges or potential employers. As a result, the armed forces have increased recruitment efforts at our nation's public schools and the SRP handbook offers recruiters instruction in salesmanship. Two suggestions jump out at me.

"Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday is in January. Wear your dress blues and participate in school events commemorating this holiday.

February: Black History Month. Participate in events as available."

Shine and sharpen those teeth, boys...we've got some hearts and minds to win over.


Michael said...

I'm sure that other places bastardize and slander King's legacy, but here in VA, we do have a special way...
Here in Richmond we have a bakery that celebrates the holiday by its annual "KING KAKE" How many K's in that?
(Metro Bakery corner of Thompson and Cary for those who'd like to firebo-- ahem, I mean check it out)

Devo said...

I think my favorite part was Bush's speech at the JFK Center for Performing Arts... (the text of which can be found here)... Where he said that "America [is a place] where the dignity of every person is respected"... except for gays, because they are an abomination in God's eyes. Oh, and anyone we feel like spying on, because sometimes we have to sacrifice our precious "freedom" in the interest of your own protection...

Of further interest is Bush's contention that "the Constitution is a living document"... Now if only we could communicate that fact to these clowns he keeps nominating to the Supreme Court!!!

And then, of course, he goes on to invoke the "God of love" he so loves. If only his god were one of love, and not intolerance and wrath. MLK's God would probably not discriminate against the poor, those of different sexual orientations OR races... but Bush's God doesn't like anyone unlike Mr. Bush himself. That is to say Imperialistic, Colonialist and Capitalist. Other Gods shall be ground to dust under the treads of an M-1 Abrams.

The entire text of this speech is deeeeeply troubling to me. Its hypocrisy knows no bounds, in the infuriatingly hypocritical words of White House automaton Scotty McClellan.

Sweet Jesus, I hate the bastards in power. They can corrupt anything.

Hungry Hyaena said...


Good Lord! That's pretty ridiculous. Fire bomb, indeed. I'm surprised there hasn't been violence already...or at least a boycott. What gives?


Yup. By the way, it's funny that you mention the M-1 Abrams...

Beltway insiders recently informed me of some Dick Cheney antics. Apparently, he refers to his penis as the "M-1 Abrams" and is often seen chasing interns around the White House with his turgid member exposed, threatening to unleash its "firepower, manuever and shock effect." What a card!

Michael said...

Jesus, HH! I can't believe you'd say those sort of things about our fair leaders... and in a time of WAR, no less.
That is doubleplusungood.