I’m gonna share a few thoughts on MLK day because we honor that man but I don’t really think we understand why we should.
The reason there should be a holiday isn’t because he’s a black figure who made the most headway towards a better world. And the debates that flare up (Malcolm or Martin?) are silly because Martin was just pure truth. The question: which is more effective, militant self-defense or the refusal to accept that we should defend ourselves from each other? This is a question that, well… If you pose this question at all you’re not ready for the answer.
So I don’t even think the majority of the black community understands why we should honor this day. The reason is because we have not done justice to his legacy.
We should have a national holiday today because he STILL looms so much larger than us. Because the world we created since his passing is one that does not even show much effort on our part to carry forward what he tried to teach. Because he gave us the tools to be better and we left them laying there on the ground.
MLK was among the greatest men that ever lived, and he gave us a pathway towards being what he believed, as humans, we could be. We have declined that path. Many black people have declined that path. You can be sure that most white people have declined that path. And it is one we have the option of starting back down every day.
Martin Luther King’s message was one of love. Love for your fellow man. I don’t know if he realized how incapable of love we are. How much we need a leader like him to show us step by step how to love, every day. And how quickly we would forget once he was gone, which brings up the question: had we really internalized it at all?
The riots that occurred when King died… well they came from pain, yes. But they also showed how little his community understood his message. He had hoped that it could carry on without him, but they were proof that he was the glue, and that would have made him very sad, because the project wasn’t about him, it was about all of us.
And now, you have Mike Pence making parallels in the media between Martin and Donald, as if there were any kind of equivalence. Martin wanted the best of everybody, Donald couldn’t care less.
So today, as we (hopefully) reflect a few minutes on that man’s legacy. Let’s also think about how much we missed the point, and maybe it will force us to put in some effort to try to get a movement towards what he wanted going again