Jan. 18 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But I wonder why it’s still a federal holiday.
I remember growing up in the 1970s and ’80s when the lead-up to MLK Day was filled with lessons at school and programs on television highlighting the footage of the civil rights marches he led, the nonviolent movement he championed, and the iconic “I Have a Dream” speech he delivered in the nation’s capital.
In 2021, there seems to be nothing but crickets for King, his movement, and his message.
I’m amazed that in a generation, King and his message have become obsolete. But it was Ronald Reagan who said that freedom was only ever a generation away from being lost, and King’s message is one of the pillars of liberty, so the fact it goes ignored in our current cultural climate should be no surprise. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the wave of “woke” culture, King ends up on the scrapheap during the purges of our current cultural revolution rolling across the nation.
This cultural revolution is one that refuses to embrace the potential promises set by America’s founding.
King believed in the pillars of liberty and the truth of God’s vision of equality. He knew that even though America was imperfect, it could live up to the values of freedom and equality espoused at its founding. It was that belief that inspired his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, in which he eloquently professed not only the ideals of America, but also the truth of how God views his children:
“In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness …
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ …
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character …”
As a high school history teacher, I have watched the public school curriculum move away from presenting a true picture of King. His position as a pastor and follower of Jesus is practically ignored.