What do celebrations mean?Published 10:57pm Monday, January 23, 2012
Celebrations, Celebrations, Celebrations. I participated in celebrations of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. And celebrations filled television and radio airwaves. While I appreciate the celebrations, I can’t help but wonder what they really mean.
Nearly everyone loves Dr. King in death. It’s so much easier to love the dead. It’s much, much harder to love the living. Just before Dr. King died, his approval rating hovered at the 33 percent mark. It was never real high in life. However, in death, it’s nearly 100 percent.
In life, Dr. King was always trying to change things for the better. In life, he was hated far more than he was loved. Now in death, he is loved greatly and celebrated widely. With such stark differences in our reactions to him in life and death, I wonder what the Dr. King celebrations really mean.
During Dr. King’s life, many minimized his accomplishments. He was brutally attacked by media, the FBI, political leaders, and many others from all walks of life. He was framed, put on trial, stabbed, and eventually murdered. Now in death, the media makes it seem like Dr. King accomplished all these monumental changes in society all by himself.
We must understand that as important as Dr. King was, it was people moving themselves that made the difference. If we count all the people who attended celebrations this past weekend, not even 1 percent of the population participated. Selma and Dallas County, where the greatest accomplishments occurred, has a population of some 45,000. I believe that less than a thousand attended all the celebrations combined, including a march, a breakfast, a lunch, a rally on non-violence and an anti-violence movie. When so few participate, I wonder what the Dr. King celebrations really mean.
I believe Dr. King would be proud that the United States of America manifested its best self in electing Sen. Barack Obama as President. However, I also believe that he would be appalled that the first President of African American descent has been the most attacked President in the history of this country. He has also received more death threats than any other President. President Obama was sworn in as President on Jan. 19, 2009 and on April 15, 2009, a little more than two months later, massive Tea Party demonstrations were leveled against him. In light of such spirits on the loose, I wonder what the Dr. King celebrations really mean. What do you think?