January 21, 2013

MLWho Day?: Brain Fade, Denial, or "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn"

It's chill but I've been down the hill looking for a couple of items I don't really need and failing to find them. Fine by me. Back at the house I'm relieved to discover that the postman seems to have had no junk mail to bring me today. Fine by me. The stores are full but traffic seems strangely light.

Later at Ken's, the market up the block and around the corner, I am buying a few modest items for a modest Monday dinner when the checker asks me, "Are you having a nice long weekend?"

Without thinking I reply, "Well, all my weekends are long these days."

"Good for you," she says and then it hits me.

"I'm sorry. Today was a holiday, wasn't it?"

She nods. I try to think of something to say to recover from what must be, to the clueless young, a clear gaffe, but I've got nothing. Since the morning I'd completely forgotten the status of this new holy day in America. I guess I was overwhelmed with the second immaculation taking place somewhere very far off to much more muffled praise than the first immaculation. In addition, being in Seattle you just don't get a lot of notice about MLK regardless of the media's breathless litany of adulation and rotund hosannas of praise. Seattle is, after all, the very whitest city or town I've ever had to endure. That is, however, no excuse -- at least to the ever sensitive and always guilty white folks that yabble and clatter about the town.

Early in the day the holiday was brought to my attention by the always slavish Joshua Rothman at The New Yorker who confidently opined: "Today, on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, a lot of us will be watching King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, on YouTube or elsewhere." A bit later on another page I read a more realistic assessment of the day which went, "We have "progressed" from 'I have a dream...' to 'I have a drone...'." My range of reaction was measured between a muttered "Yeah right" and a rueful but passing smirk.

And then I just forgot about it. Seattle's just too white to pull together a convincing MLK Day parade.

Reflecting on The Day after my grocery store reminder I have to say that I'm sticking with that rueful but passing smirk as I consider the distance we've come since King's speech at the Lincoln Memorial 50 years ago in 1963. Then we struggled, with men like King, to come together as a people, to move beyond our past, to be one nation. Now, under the cynical manipulation and malicious policies of one who would cast himself as the inheritor of the King mantle, we find the current occupent of the White House doing his best, day after day, to drive the races apart once again.

How strange that someone who has attained the presidency in this day and age should not only hate citizens because of the color of their skin and the cut of their bitter and clinging class, but be lauded for it. Stranger still that he should be half-black and be inaugurated on the day set aside to honor Martin Luther King. Once I would have remembered and honored this day and felt we were at last getting beyond race hate in America. When exactly that was I now forget. I guess we've still a reckoning ahead of us.

[Added per Pittman's suggestion.]

Posted by gerardvanderleun at January 21, 2013 6:28 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Half a trillion dollars--or more, perhaps--spent since the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That's resulted in ... something, I suppose.

People have been gravely injured, raped, robbed, or killed for having the wrong color skin in the wrong neighborhood. Most everyone of whatever chroma identity (better? no?) is aware which neighborhoods are the most lethal.

People lose their jobs for being the wrong kind and saying the wrong thing. Being the wrong hue means not even getting the job in the first place, a lot of the time.

Kids more worthy of acceptance at a given school never get accepted, because playing "Let's Pretend" has been deemed to be a good enough substitute for merit or aptitude.

Considering these things, I'd say we've been having a reckoning for three or four decades at least. To what end? I don't see it, not anything I want.

Lift up, my ass. Maybe one of these days it'll be someone else's turn to reck something. This has become boring.

Posted by: Mike James at January 21, 2013 8:26 PM

Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Newark, Stockton ..., the great experiment in civil rights failed. The streets of many major cities are controlled by extremely violent black and hispanic street gangs, who have a virtually monopoly on gun violence and murder. Yet our politicians are obsessed by elderly white men at gun shows.

Now we have a malignant narcissist as President supported by an obsequious, corrupt press and by ignorant, ideological "educators" who have systematically and deliberately brainwashed tens of millions of school children and college students. A half-black President who deliberately and maliciously incites race hatred.

The Gramscians have won. The whole civil rights movement has be inverted into an explicit racist movement, only now whites and asians are being excluded and demonized.

I am 69 years old. Race relations todays are as bad as they were in the 1950s. An the classes that once decried discrimination--the "educators" and clergy and lawyers and press--now promulgate it.

Martin Luther King Day has become a day of infamy. May God help us through the next four years.

Posted by: bob sykes at January 22, 2013 4:45 AM

The inimitable George Carlin did a rift on the media telling us who our heroes should be. My favorite radio show played it yesterday (Youtube clip, I think). Most irreverent but also most appropriate. You might find it and post it as an accompaniment to your excellent, timely observations.

Posted by: John Hinds at January 22, 2013 5:58 AM

Has Obama "claimed the mantle" of King? I dunno. He's certainly cynical enough to exploit the race issue whenever it benefits him, but I haven't really seen him try to cast himself as King's moral successor.

Of course, that could be because he has such a large base that will give him the messianic worship no matter what he does. He doesn't have to invoke the aura, because so many already think he has it.

And if there's one thing he doesn't have to do, he won't. He'll give a speech and claim he's doing something, when all he really did was talk.

Posted by: Gordon at January 22, 2013 9:04 AM

I watched a black man on the tube yesterday say "Martin Luther King was the greatest American that ever lived." And I thought, no, I'm sorry but he wasn't. People have forgotten how much King was denigrated by blacks, during his time, when they felt that he wasn't radical enough. And now, when we have black actors talking about how great it is to "kill whitey", you truly have to wonder how much of a difference Dr. King really made. I don't believe that he would have turned a blind eye to the destruction of the black family and the rise of the gangsta culture.

Posted by: Teri Pittman at January 22, 2013 9:31 AM

His dreams were daydreams; the vision did not extend beyond the day's new pussy. The Reverend of black America. They got that message.

The quality of black leaders which the liberal plantation permit oxygen are a humiliation which the Klan had not the wit to impose. And it is too inconvenient to the daydreams of white men to even stop and consider that all their intentions to think well of themselves brought is a continuing nightmare. They would rather budget the nightmare and declare themselves humanitarians.

Posted by: james wilson at January 22, 2013 10:32 AM

[nit] BHO is 1/2 white, 3/8 semite (arab), 1/8 black. [picked]

Posted by: Chas C-Q at January 22, 2013 11:13 AM

Look at the swollen membership list of the NRA, GOA, and JFPO, look at how long the lines at gun shows are, look at how empty the shelves are in gun stores, look at the backorders for gun manufacturers and waiting lists for firearms classes and the three-shift schedules for anyone who makes magazines.

Enjoy 2014!

Posted by: Mike James at January 22, 2013 2:11 PM

But, hey, at least you have "clean cut Mexican Immigrants" to do your lawn and masonry work!

Posted by: SDH at January 22, 2013 5:28 PM