Reevaluating Martin Luther King Jr.’s Holy-Day

Brandon D. Ragle, Your Civilization.Com, Jan. 17

Today, as I am sure most of you are aware, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A federal holiday celebrating the life and accomplishments of the civil rights leader, renowned as a champion of equality and hero to untold numbers of Americans.

Unless you are—God-forbid—a government employee, the chances that you have even given much thought to today’s holiday are slim. While King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is now cemented in the minds of Americans young and old, many people do not stop to consider, even on his holiday, just who Martin Luther King Jr. was.

Most goodhearted Americans, believe racism and bigotry, the hostility toward particular ethnic, racial, and religious groups based solely on their appearance or religious beliefs, is logically flawed. They believe a holiday celebrating King acknowledges this and compensates for America’s oft-cited history of slavery and prejudice, even if they pay little attention to the holiday itself and the ideas, policies, and attitudes it reinforces.

But for a number of Americans aware of King’s personal history, the holiday has taken a much different meaning. For these people, myself included, designating a holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. presents a myriad of complications and speaks volumes about the socio-political mindset that holds so much sway over American culture.

The most troubling of these complications stems from King’s conduct and personal behavior. Those inclined to initially cast their lot against a King holiday and who continue to protest its celebration to this day do not do so out of a deep-rooted hatred for Americans of African ancestry or a wrongheaded desire to see Jim Crow laws resurrected, they merely do so out of disgust with what has become an almost cult-like worship of the man that avoids any and all discussion of his numerous and, in their eyes, unforgivable shortcomings.

It is now standard practice for the American mainstream to simply disregard these dissenters as fanatics with a racist bent, undeserving of consideration and public debate within our polite society. But just as the majority of Americans are quick to write off those opposed to a King holiday as extremists, it is almost certain that the unseemly details that have been purged from the modern day hero-worship surrounding the man are unknown and, when brought up, are completely unbelievable to them. How many Americans, who revel in their day off from work or who get goose bumps listening to King’s “I Have a Dream” speech know that:

These “revelations” alone should have created enough doubt in the minds of American congressmen when voting to give King his own holiday, while at the same doing away with the federal holidays that recognized both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, who now share the generic “President’s Day” holiday in February. But, as Ronald Reagan stated when he signed the King holiday bill into law in 1983 despite the protests from many in his own party, “image prevails over reality.”

And oh what an image Martin Luther King Jr. has. MLK has been canonized by the American left as the patron saint of “diversity,” outshining America’s Founding Fathers in the mass media and in classrooms across the country. Questioning the man’s deeds and designated Holy-Day celebration ranks just below Holocaust denial and right above arguing the “born gay” explanation attributed to homosexuality on the left’s (and right’s) long list of social no-no’s.

Not withstanding the uneasiness that stems from bringing up these facets of the now standard MLK mythology, there is little point in arguing the existence of the King holiday today. Reason lost that battle over two decades ago. However, admirers of the truth, both black and white, should consider the facts before they sacrifice reality on New America’s alter of diversity.

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