I wasn’t even a year old when Doctor King was assassinated, my first real memory of his importance was the big fight between congress and the White House over making January 19th a national holiday in his name. I remember being angry with then President Reagan because he wasn’t explicitly for it and he had numerous reservations, but since it passed through the house with a veto proof majority, President Reagan did not have much of a choice in the matter. I don’t think that there has been a second in our national life that Doctor King has not been relevant: public education, childhood poverty, racial profiling, the prison industrial complex, stagnant wages, income inequality and police brutality. Saturday Night Live did a cold opening spoofing “Selma’s” Oscar snub and Keenan as Martin Luther King Jr was amazing calling out how far away and high that mountain top seemed when the newest member playing a high school student stuck on writing a paper about Martin Luther King Jr was explaining how “far” we have come since that sad day when we lost Doctor King. It was almost perfect irony that right around Martine Luther King Jr’s holiday, a great movie surrounding his experiences during a momentous period in our history is not being honored by Hollywood, that bastion of supposed liberal world views. Service for others is a wonderful avenue to greatness and it would do our society a whole lot of good if we can renegotiate our definitions of greatness, success, fairness and responsibility. I believe that the Reagan years of laissez-faire capitalism has done so much damage to our aggregate view of societal responsibility and accountability and it has been to our misfortune and our disadvantage as a whole. I hope that our electorate will come around favorably to progressive politicians because they honor Martin Luther King Jr’s call to service and that is a very important quality in leadership.
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