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21 January 2008

Merriment, Lasciviousness & Knish Day

M.L.K. Day right? I saw on the news that it really stood for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, but surely they are mistaken.

I mean, really, a day honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.? After all, Percy Spencer, the guy that invented the microwave oven in 1945 - enabling bachelors by the millions to prepare their own meals - doesn't have his own day. So what gives?

Perhaps there is something to it though. King is only 1 of 4 individuals with a US holiday named after him. More importantly, many agree that he championed civil rights, civil disobedience and dare I say, black entitlement. King died a martyr in 1968 after being felled by a gunman's bullet after allegedly spending the night with his mistress in Memphis (sounds like a country song, huh?). A sordid tale indeed.

Still, barely 30% of employers in the United States give their employees the day off. And the holiday wasn't even officially recognized in all 50 states until the year 2000.

Nonetheless, his contributions to our country (America) are sizable, meaningful and in some cases, long lasting. His movement (there were more than him of course) gave rise to providing legitimate rights to people that heretofore had none. And that is righteous.

He also gave rise to race baiting disciples like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson who promote themselves and racism with vigor unmatched by any person of any race of our day. Not so righteous.

In the spirit of service, equality and civil rights, it can be said that Martin Luther King, Jr. represented the tip of the sword in our society in treating equals like, well, equals. And while his personal defects and bigoted followers obscure those tenets, the message still deserves to be highlighted and emphasized. But is MLK Day the only way to promote that message?

Unfortunately, like Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, Secretary's Day and other Hallmark generated holidays, we are lulled into complacency. They would have us believe that as long we we buy chocolate, deliver flowers and of course "care to send the very best" (aack) to commemorate those special days, that we have met our quota for honoring our mothers, lovers, helpers, etc. But what about the other 364 days?? Are we free to be dis-honoring as long as we bought a nice fern for our secretary?

Sadly, the underlying message of MLK Day is seldom heard because it is buried under the racially charged political rhetoric of some of MLK Day's promoters. Similar to Veteran's Day and Memorial Day, we have an opportunity to honor the message, the service and the people behind the holiday, but are often dissuaded by either apathy or disgust at how people use the holiday for political advantage.

And the result is that most Americans did what we did to 'celebrate' MLK Day: had fun, goofed off and ate out.

Yep... Merriment, Lasciviousness & Knish Day alright.


Dana said...

This was absolutely the BEST MLK Day blog post I read today. You couldn't have hit the mark any closer.

Thank You!

Deb in OPKS said...

Yep, that's basically how I spent the day, too.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Knish? You had to mention knishes? I can't get a decent knish where I live.

Tismee2 said...

1. In the UK we have various bank holidays - when banks close - who thought THAT one up?

2. We have patron saints days like in England it's St. George but we aren't 'allowed' to fly a flag incase we upset some ethnic person who may think we are being racist (don't get me started on THAT topic!!)

3. We have no 'interesting' holidays like you in the US with Veterans Day, Thanksgiving etc (probably just as well seing as they do the above for a patron saint)

4. We have long miserable winters, no decent snow - just rain and rain and a really boring national anthem.

I am actually a very patriotic person, ex Navy and proud of it, but there are times where the UK really sucks!

PS What are knishes?

Life As I Know It said...

Yep, I didn't do much of anything on MLK day. I will say, though, now that I have kids, and one in particular who is old enough to understand, I do find myself explaining the meaning of holidays to him. Maybe next year we should actually do something in honor of MLK that it's not just "another day off".

Michael M. said...

Thanks Dana....I'm honored! From reading your blog, I figured we were on the same page....

Michael M. said...

Deb: Thankfully, we still get to decide how to spend our day's off right? :)

Michael M. said...

SC: I needed something that started with "K". :)

Abigail: A knish is like a Calzone, but popular in Jewish families.

Thanks for your Naval Service! (to our British neighbors)...and I understand the holiday thing. Like in the book (Death of Common Sense): when we give everybody rights....pretty soon, nobody has rights....

Michael M. said...

LAIKI: Noble cause indeed. We fly our flag proudly, but seldom talk to Emily about why. Thanks for the reminder....