I had this really weird dream last night…

I had this really weird dream last night that our country used to be a place that despised diversity, that didn't know the meaning of the word. It was a crazy fever dream where most people didn't matter. And then the world was changed by the arrival of the greatest speechmaker the world has ever seen.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is the one holiday that I can celebrate wholeheartedly. It is the one holiday with a social conscience, and it is the one holiday that is forward-looking rather than backward-thinking.

The upper class in the past couple decades have come to endorse the idea of 'tolerance.' We urge our educators to teach our children tolerance, we try to lead our existence with an outlook of tolerance for other people.

I do not like the idea of tolerance. The word comes from a late Middle English term denoting the action of bearing hardship. It implies that there is hardship to be born. That is wrong.

This is an unfinished post. It is unfinished because I am listening to speeches made by a man who was the voice of an entire nation, and it's taking the wind out of my sails. We have no such voice today. It is unfinished because so is the struggle for equality and social justice.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. (audio hosted by American Rhetoric)

3 thoughts on “I had this really weird dream last night…

  1. We didn’t get it off today so we could have a special curriculum to study him more in depth…I have yet to hear of a class that did so. It just got cut. I know we still get at least one Christian holiday…I mean “Teacher Work Day”, but that is more important to our nation, our way of life, and our education, not isn’t it?

    Also, anyone who can: Watch the “Return of the King” episode of the Boondocks. I think you can still find it on YouTube. Funny and poiniant, as always.

  2. As a wee one, I always heard of MLK and thought of civil rights and speeches. Back then I couldn’t grasp the concept of hating people for their race. As I got older and listened to his speeches I realized what made him a becon for what was essentially the second American revolution. I’m listening to the speech on a sepearate window right now, and it is the greatest of tregedies that King’s dream has become at best a mild, profunctory obligation. The thin spectre of what was once the greatest political movement on American soil now returns once a year to haunt the everyman, content in his tolerance.
    I’ve never felt inspired enough by anyone to put up a poster of them. I listened to King in history and immediatly wanted to wake to his image everyday, to remind me of what I should be doing.
    MLK day has come and gone. As opposed to hearing his speeches or learning about the man, everyone did as they always do.
    Not once did I hear his name spoken. Not once.

  3. Mikhail, let me tell you why I have hope:

    Every year, my mother tries to explain segregation and racial prejudice to a group of 17 or so 3 and 4 year-olds, and they never understand. Ever. The concept is absolutely, completely foreign to them. Here’s what they do know, even without knowing that they know it: People are different and unique. That’s what makes them interesting, and why they want to be friends with Luis even though he doesn’t speak very much English. And when my mother explains who Dr. King was and what he did, he instantly becomes their biggest hero. And this stays with them. Even after nap time.

    Have you ever walked in the annual march in Fort Collins, Mikhail? Because I have, and I’ve stayed for the speeches afterwards. And it’s astounding. I mean, it’s one thing to see the mayor in the march; he’s got constituents to appeal to. But what about all the real people, who have absolutely no ulterior motive for showing up? What about all these people who take a day to participate in something greater than themselves? This is not the thin specter of a movement, this is who we ARE. And When they burst into a spontaneous chorus of “We Shall Overcome,” that’s not something you soon forget. Because deep in my heart, I DO believe that we shall overcome one day, and that day is a lot closer now than it was in 1963. Don’t forget that: we have made a LOT of progress, and although there is more yet to be made it’s important to remember that we’re moving forward.

    And this comment is longer than my original post.

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