Musings on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – 2017

In four days, a selfish, narcissist, misogynist racist will officially be inaugurated into the White House. I still shake my head in sorrow over this impending tragedy, especially today. What would Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. think of this transition of power? What would go through his mind upon seeing the first Black President of the United States of America being replaced by a man who epitomizes the worst of the racism that was prevalent from the 1800s through this 21st century – racism that he witnessed first-hand?

It isn’t lost on me that “MLK Day,” as it is casually listed on calendars, blogs, and holiday-weekend sales circulars, isn’t a holiday that is observed by many industries here in the U.S.A. I know this for a fact, because I have worked in those industries: construction, engineering, and architecture, to name a few. When I was employed at those respective industries, there were usually two “floating” holidays that could be exchanged for a day off, so I would exchange one of those in order to get time off on this day. I did so in order to take my son to various community events that would be taking place, and instill in him the importance of this “Day of Service.” A national holiday isn’t just to get a day off from work and bargains on mattresses – it is time to reflect on the meaning of the holiday. The history of it. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is called a “Day of Service,” because it is a day to “give back” or “pay it forward” in the community that you live in, and the businesses that you support. National parks around the country are free today; no need to pay admission. Did anyone out there go to your nearest national park, if you were close enough to do so? Did you take time to just appreciate the natural beauty that is, sadly, rapidly vanishing?

For my part, I woke up early and went down to the beach to do some cleanup. It isn’t an official “Beach Clean-Up Day,” locally, but that was the best part – I was there with no company other than the seagulls. Any other people were at a great distance from me, jogging near the water, or walking along with cameras, taking pictures. I took two large garbage bags and spent time picking up the leftover garbage that tourists always leave behind. Tourists have no respect or appreciation for the places that they visit, which is why I never consider myself a tourist when I travel – I don’t treat the places that I visit as a personal dumping ground.

Anyway, as I cleaned up and removed the filth of others, my thoughts were on Dr. King and his dream. Questions and observations kept popping up in my mind, some of which I opened this post with, and I figured that I’d write a few more below. Bear with my meandering thoughts, if you will!

What would he think of the apathy of Black people who have “made it to the top?” Those who believe that if we all hold hands, sing ‘Kumbayah,’ and believe in some bogus ‘post-racial’ utopia that racism is suddenly non-existent? Those who buy the bullshit of ‘respectability poltics,’ and feel that if you don’t talk about racism, it will disappear like that? People always say, “well, he was peaceful and non-violent!” So? What does that mean, exactly? Does that mean he never got angry? Would being justifiably angry make his message not worth heeding? He was a gun-owner as well; what would he say about the way gun laws are selectively enforced in this day and age? Did his owning a gun suddenly render him a non-peaceful person? Owning a gun didn’t keep him from getting murdered, and neither did his peaceful protests.

What would he have thought or said about the recent presidential race? Would he have supported Hillary or Bernie? Would Dr. King have sat down, face-to-face with the Drumpf, and spoken to him about the nazis and klansmen in his supporter base – and now, in his cabinet? What would he think about Drumpf’s relationship with Russia in general, and Vladimir Putin, in particular?

What would he say to whites who cherry-pick his “I Have a Dream” speech when they use those quotes to shut down Black people who are voicing their concerns? These same whites who believed the lies leading to his professional, political, and personal assassination? He supported Marcus Garvey, and didn’t hate Malcolm X the way most people believe.

What would he say about Black entertainers who play up disturbing and damaging stereotypes for fame and fortune? What would he say about whites who culturally misappropriate and misrepresent many different cultural styles, rituals, music, and belief systems? Would he still stand at the side of Congressman John Lewis, even as he is unfairly attacked for being honest with his personal opinion? What would he think about Colin Kaepernick? Would he scathe him, or applaud him?

These are just some of the many questions that I mused over as I picked up cigarette butts and wrappers, beer and soda cans, and general garbage left over from the last big tourist-drawing event. As in years past, I spent a good part of the morning doing a public service for the community that I live in, even though it is unappreciated by the ignorant, inbred people who reside here. Fine with me – I did it because I wanted to, not for the thanks of people who don’t care. I still benefit from having a clean beach, if only for a while. And, I know that my family members appreciate my efforts when they come to visit – so you could say that I did it for them, too. I think that Dr. King would approve!

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dancingpalmtrees
    Jan 16, 2017 @ 19:11:17

    I applaud you in showing Dr. King spirit through volunteering. Unfortunately I work on all holidays. No option to take off. Mandatory. However I did make contributions to Black Lives Matter and the Women protesting the inauguration. I had hoped to join the New York protest demonstration but I will be at work. I will find other means to support the Resistors Movement.

  2. finbarsgift
    Jan 16, 2017 @ 20:37:10

    Thanks for that WONDERFUL post for the remembrance of a WONDERFUL black man, a black KING of all Americans forever…
    Lots of greetings from Lu

  3. Brian Lageose
    Jan 18, 2017 @ 23:40:03

    This is one of your best, DS. Would you mind if I did a Blogger Spotlight? I think it’s a perfect introduction to your personal zest and humanity, but it’s completely up to you if you prefer that I use another piece. Just let me know!

%d bloggers like this: