Monday is day set aside to remember a great man. It is a good thing that we commemorate the life of Dr. King. No American in recent history gave poetry to our stated ideals as well. I can think of none that deserve our veneration as much. (Bobby, we hardly knew ye.) King elevated everything.
But the holiday is too often celebrated as the day in which aging, rich, usually white, usually male, faux liberal, self-appointed history clerks lecture the rest of us about ‘social justice’ while – somehow – never mentioning sexism and homophobia. I’ve now listened to one too many lectures about Monday’s holiday, sat through one too many sermons, in which the second class citizenship of lesbians and gays simply is not mentioned. In which sexism is glided past as if it’s a sidebar in any discussion of ‘social justice’ – a phrase I distrust completely for the self-evident reason that the modifier ‘social’ is an unnecessary convolution. ‘Justice’ alone works just fine. Adding ‘social’ is an affectation and the sole purpose of this affectation is condescension.
In too many instances Dr. King has already been turned into a puppet idol we are meant to worship for a day, while feeling some random, free-floating guilt because the dream is not complete. There is still so much to do. The implication is that we are to continue feeling guilty for something that’s increasingly distant. If we actually celebrated King’s astounding success - and breathtaking it is, indeed – it would silence two-thirds of the faux liberal chattering class. Without condescension and a retrofitted version of guilt mongering, what would the late 1960s fantasists have to say?
I am fed up with lectures about inclusion that do not include me.
So if we are honest about the meaning of Monday’s holiday what we have to do is stand up and demand an equal place at the table for gay people. What we have to do is pass the Equal Rights Amendment. What we have to do is end corporate personhood and institute public financing of all elections so poor and middle class people actually have a say. What we have to do is demand equal marriage rights for every American. What we have to do is face the injustices of today head on and not get caught up in corrosive, dishonest and false nostalgia. There is much to do. The mass force feeding of flash card history so a particular aging demographic can still feel vital is not on the list.
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