Monday, January 16, 2006
First, this national holiday in honor Dr. King should not be characterized as a "black" holiday as it is too often. The vision of Dr. King was, indeed racial harmony and equality for all blacks, but also and specifically for the poorest and indigent of Americans.
This overlooked aspect of Dr. King's beliefs--beliefs that he died fighting for--have not been realized, but a gap between rich and poor has widened greatly.
The working poor in America has grown exponentially since the late 1960s and President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society.
As we stand today, the minimum wage has not increased in nearly 10 years. Corporations are cutting pensions for loyal retirees and health benefits are non-existent. America still functions without a health care program. People get sick and fall into deeper despair.
For those unfortunate and few, the mounting debt and tension rises with no end. This past year, the Republican Congress made it harder for Americans to file for bankruptcy. To this Administration there is no second chance in America, especially when it's their money.
Invariably, a talk regarding Dr. King cannot be given without mention of the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.
The country and the world saw the still seething divide of race and poverty in America. This is simply a regime in Washington that gives short shrift to the poor. Katrina showed that human decency is not contained in the hearts of men who run this country.
But, should we expect anything different? This is, after all, the same government that spied on and sought to end Dr. King's dream, if they didn't literally, with a bullet. And their dream to rid the country's conscienceness of his noble deeds is still with us today.
An assault on Dr. King's legacy surrounds us everyday. First, this day, as mentioned before, is linked to the black struggle. Second, popular culture is devoid of anything related to Dr. King. Have you ever noticed that there has never been a big-budget Hollywood biopic about Dr. King? Why is that? Hollywood can make one for Malcolm X and Johnny Cash, but can't tell the heroic and fascinating story of a Southern preacher changing the way American lived?
The past year has weathered an assault to the issues that Dr. King stood for and today is day that we should regroup and rekindle the fervor and enlightenment that he stoked in America over 40 years ago.
Posted by Steven Tavares at 1/16/2006