Reflections on the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday
January 17, 2011
The past 25 years in America we have observed January 17 as a national holiday. The reason for the holiday? You have a multiple choice opportunity for an answer to that question. It all depends on how you want to frame the occasion.
If I were to do the proper research and attempted to codify all the reasons, I would be at this desk for the rest of the year. And, that would also probably bore you to tears.
Those of you who have been reading BobGrantOnline know I do keep my commentary brief. For some of you it is too brief. You say you don’t get enough of me. For that I am grateful, however, getting back to the question of why do we celebrate the 17th of January as a national holiday, here are some of the reasons that I have read or surmised.
The racial hustlers will tell you we observe Martin Luther King’s birthday because we recognize his great contributions to this country. The rednecks might tell you that we gave in to blackmail. They will point out that a few places in America that were not observing his birthday as a holiday were threatened with economic boycotts that would grow exponentially.
Let us take up one of many examples of the economic blackmail that reared its ugly head before all 50 states fell into line and all municipalities saluted in the proper fashion. Does anybody remember a few years ago when the Super Bowl was scheduled by the National Football League to be played for the first time in Phoenix, Arizona? The Arizona professional football team, the Cardinals, had just moved from St. Louis and were striving to attract a fan base and make enough money since running an operation of the type one needs is very costly.
The people of Arizona were not warm to the idea of the King holiday and, therefore, were not falling into line to proclaim the holiday in Arizona. But, the heavy hand of the unified black community and the feckless politicians combined to bring Arizona into line and like so many other places the case settled.
Another victory for the heretofore minority which has since become the de facto majority. In terms of settling the problem of how do we accommodate another national holiday when we have so many already, the answer was simple.
Who is the father of our country? Who is the man who led the colonies so skillfully in not only a political sense, but in a military way as well? Who was the man most responsible for driving the British from America and giving its people a Republic we could all be proud of?
Who was the man that most Americans wanted to make king? Who was the man who was so selfless that he served only terms as our first president and went home to his beloved Mt. Vernon? Why, no other than our first president, the man called the father of our country — GEORGE WASHINGTON!
And since we honored February 22 as a national holiday, why not drop Washington’s birthday from the list and just lump him in with the 42 other men who held that post (remember Grover Cleveland was our 22nd and 24th president) and call that day simply President’s Day?
There were many members of Congress who did not want to vote for King’s birthday to be proclaimed a national holiday, but were afraid to vote against it. Even our president at the time, the great Ronald Reagan, had misgivings about what we were doing, but was advised by most of his advisers to sign the legislation and not to veto it. It was suggested if he did not allow the legislation calling for January 17 to be a national holiday there might be insurrection, even civil war.
So, in the interest of peace and tranquility, President Ronald Reagan signed the bill and here we are 25 years later feeling under siege from a political steamroller that is no different than any other such political movement who knows its opponents are feckless and on the defensive.
And so we are witnessing the construction of a monument being built where the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials attract millions of visitors every year. And, of course, a short distance from the incredible Washington Monument, right in that very square, very soon, the Martin Luther King Jr. monument will be constructed.
As one black American said today, “This memorial will take its place with the other founders of this country.”
I do not consider Mr. King to be a peer of Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln, but I am only one voice and I have no organization and I have no power to affect history. However, I am an American citizen who does exercise his First Amendment rights to say, enough already!
I mean no disrespect to Martin Luther King who became a martyr and who did preach nonviolence and who did profess a philosophy that was laudable. My problem is that there are too few citizens in private or political life who have the courage to speak their mind and who disagree with the blackmailers.
They do not dare to speak their minds. How ironic that the very practice of what the Constitution says is our right, we are too intimidated to do so. There is a word they don’t want to be called. And I can testify from firsthand experience.
I don’t blame them Take it from me. I ought to know. That word is: racist!
Too bad . . . too bad for America.