Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It was made a federal holiday in 1986 but had a rocky start. Since 2000, however, it has been celebrated as a state holiday in all 50 states as well. It should be a state and federal holiday, and truthfully it should be one of our most celebrated days every year.
Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the greatest men to have ever lived. Most people put him up in the top 5. I personally put him in my top 3. In one of the meditation exercises I was once taught, I was supposed to picture entering an elevator on which were the three people of all time I would most have liked to meet. Mine were Jesus, Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. I’m not so sure they would still be my choices, but MLK would still surely be one of them.
When you look at the man, what you find is that he was a man. He was not perfect and did not always act perfectly. He had his faults and foibles. Many of his critics would like to concentrate on them and cite his indiscretions as opposed to his achievements. I tend to hold to his courage and strength, but even more than those, I tend to hold to the simple rightness of what he advocated. Without doubt and simply put, the only truly effective way to effect change within a society is by non-violent civil disobedience. Then, the only true laws are those equally applied to all. And of course there are no peoples who are better or “worser” than others, or more equal than others, simply by virtue of their skin color.
Martin Luther King Jr. has caused some of the most profound changes ever in America. He stands apart from and ahead of most reformers, in a league of his own inclusive of only one or two other people who have lived. We should celebrate the day. We should herald and celebrate the man. More, we should stop listening to those who would undo the changes he fought for so selflessly, and all sides of the racial divide should return to his teachings. I believe he would say all lives matter.