Saturday, January 14, 2006


The worst thing I ever heard about Martin Luther King was that certain portions of his doctoral thesis were lifted without attribution from other sources. Of course, the places where this is proclaimed with loud and gleeful certainty are also places that consider David Duke a "civil rights activist".

I never took originality as being the point of Dr. King's success. Even his basic technique for awaking America's conscience was openly borrowed from Ghandi and its roots in the work of H. D. Thoreau were made plain. Most of us know more truths and could bear witness to more immoral governement, business and civil conduct than we will ever have the courage to stand up and proclaim. No, MLK is celebrated because of where, when and before whom he had the courage to repeat the message that was blowin' in the wind: Treat us like humans as we are not less. Only give us the chances you give yourselves. If his messages weren't already known and gnawing at the country's self flattering vision of its own fairness, who would have listened? The ideological foundations of the civil rights movement were laying around for decades like a sword no one would heft because there was not armor to protect those who would brandish it. What was original, what galvanized so many who had let the knowledge of injustice sit quietly in their politics, was the courage to stand before those whose fear and ignorance had won the dirty little victory over their consciences. Everyone knew that was a dangerous stand to make.

The truth that gives you life is never entirely your own. If you won't personally face the enemies of that truth, you are never entirely alive.

So, take Monday off if youv'e got it off. Think for a moment what legacy this day will really carry in the future. Will it be the remembrance by Americans that we were, more recently than most comfortably admit, an openly racist country but we no longer are? Will it be a celebration of a particular man and his example of courage?

Footnote: The website is hosted by stromfront so that explains why its a putrid dumpsterful of twisted crap. But how, does a hate_server wind up at the top of search results for Martin luther king? They load up a meta:keyword list in the header that search engines will match to nearly any topic one is looking up. One more reason Bush did well in Nebraska. This is what was in the header:
 <META NAME="KEYWORDS" CONTENT="martin luther king jr, Jesse jackson, NAACP,
integration, Kwanzaa, Black history,
White Civil Rights, fascism, racism,
slavery, hate, hate crime, segregation, discrimination,
race, prejudice, abortion, institutional racism,
anti-racism, anti-fascism,
anti-Semitism, racism, bigotry, hatred, prejudice,
bias, Holocaust, Israel,
democracy, terrorism, militia, Jews, Jewish,
diversity, anti-Semitic incident,
racist, discrimination, Holocaust denial, neo-Nazi,
Nazi, tolerance, civil rights,
kkk, extremism, extremist, hate crimes, skinheads,
Middle East, Islamic Extremist,
education, White supremacy, minority, bias,
religious freedom, Constitution,
religious right, Christian, free speech, war criminals,
school prayer, religion,

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