Reflection on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Observance

Jan 23, 2020 by

“Thank you, Martin!”

An acquaintance of mine said that on Dr. Martin Luther King Day last week. 

I thought he was expressing gratitude for the human rights leader’s contribution to our country and the improvement of our national soul. 

Mistaken assumption.  He was being, if anything, disrespectful, whether or not he realized it.

Here’s a paraphrase of what he said.  I will write it as though it were a  direct quotation, because the emotional impact with be starker and more immediate that way:

“Yeah, MLK Day is a perfect holiday. Doesn’t feel like one, though.  No obligatory presents. No annoying family gatherings with artificial camaraderie.  No fireworks. No Times Square Swarovski ball drop.  No phony president worship.  No week of turkey leftovers.  No reminders of vets with PTSD or reveries for departed soldiers. No end-of-summer holidays after which I’m not supposed to wear white shoes. That’s some of what I like about MLK Day and you know what else?

I’m a government employee and I get paid for the day without having to show up.  And if I do, I get time-and-a-half and my buddy gets double time with his agency. And there’s no alternate side parking! And my favorite diner always suspends their special early-bird specials on holidays, but they don’t on MLK Day. “

This is unfortunately symptomatic of the ignorance and shallowness of too large a percentage of the population.  In fact, the MLK holiday should be ranked on a par with our most solemn and jubilant spiritual commemorations.

Much learning and love remains to be spread and internalized.

Ron Isaac

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.