That’s Right Nate

Thoughts from a right thinker.

Martin Luther King Day of Service

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Growing up, I was always a bit conflicted over Martin Luther King.  My father marched with Martin Luther King when he came to the South Side of Chicago to protest housing segregation.   I probably shouldn’t say he marched with King as my dad and his friends took on the difficult responsibility of patrol the streets of Marquette Park armed only with baseball bats to prevent race riots so that King could march peacefully.   Martin Luther King was a Republican and in my heart I knew that he must favor supply side economics, a strong military, and a weak government just like I do, but somehow King just seemed too racial.   I mean everything seemed to be so much about race with him that as a white person I felt picked on.

Fortunately, in our post-racial society where a black man can grow up to be anything he wants including President, we can finally take a step back from the racial politics of the 1960s.   That’s why I love that Martin Luther King Day has become a day of service.   If Martin Luther King were alive today, would he be complaining about injustice, urban poverty, and a recession that has hit African-Americans particularly hard?  It’s doubtful.  Instead, he’d be using his energies to complain about parks in disrepair and schools that need painting.   There’s no need to take on a corrupt social order anymore–those problems have been solved.  I’m sure if Martin Luther King were alive today, he’d be the first one to put down the picket sign and pick up the paint brush.

In Chicago tomorrow, there’s a march by Public Workers Unite!   They’re starting out at CTA headquarters where new studies show just how underserved poor and minority riders have been by the city’s public transportation system.  The march then continues to the Board of Education where they continue to shut down and privatize minority schools throughout the South and West sides of the city.  Finally, the march ends at the State of Illinois Building.  I’m sorry, this doesn’t seem like MLK’s crowd.  I see him instead working with folks like Target, Starbucks, and McDonalds around the city who are all helping to sponsor programs in his memory.   So grab a brush America and let’s remember Dr. King’s dream of a color blind society with a fresh coat of paint.

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Written by thatsrightnate

January 17, 2010 at 11:05 pm

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