On MLK 2013

Courtesy of the American Anthropological Association

Courtesy of the American Anthropological Association

Monday (January 21, 2013) is Martin Luther King Day – a federal holiday (since 1986) in the US, which actually means a vacation day for federal employees.

States have the opportunity to declare a holiday for its employees – and most, if not all, have on this day. In my state of Ohio, local government/public groups have the option of declaring the day a holiday.

Private employers also have an option of exercising the holiday,but only a bit more than a third do. A small percentage of others offer this day as a floating-holiday option.

Whether one chooses or not, and no matter the occasion, holidays provide the opportunity to reflect. In other words, holidays are more than just a day off from work.

Dr. King’s work and the Civil Rights movement was huge news in the 1960s. Today, two factors dominate my mind: Yes, we as a society have come a long way – but we still have a long way to go. Let’s look at a some information that may seem disjointed, but there’s a relationship.

Barack Obama’s candidacy, election, and reelection sparked its share of racism, although many disguise it in other ways.

The Southern Poverty Law Center reports the number of hate groups has increased 69% since 2000.

An Associated Press survey (released 2012, in cooperation with researchers from Stanford University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Chicago), concludes that when measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, anti-Black sentiments increased to 56% in 2012.

Somewhere there is a city council member proudly stating their city does not recognize Martin Luther King Day as a holiday in the name of prudent fiscal management, while also pointing out there are no Blacks living in that city.

Whether professional, spiritual, or personal, reflection is a powerful tool that can drive personal change. I sincerely wish that race was irrelevant – unfortunately it isn’t – and maybe that day of irrelevance will come in the future. However, if it does, it will not be due of legislation, Supreme Court rulings, or any other civic action, but from personal reflection – after all, that’s what modifies individual behavior – but that will be have to done by a vast majority.

On a Smile for Monday

How was your weekend? The cold blast of winter hit Cincinnati, but a few warm days are now upon us. This weekend we enjoyed some time on the ballroom dance floor and saw the latest Sherlock Holmes movie (which was ok). Otherwise, it was a low-key weekend.

Monday is Martin Luther King Day. For those who lived the 1960s, you realize the importance of Dr. King’s work, how far society has come, and how far society still has to go. Regardless of what we know, there is so much more for all of us to learn.

For your Monday Morning Entertainment, enjoy this Internet craze about one place for learning – books. Have a good week.


On MLK 2011

With Martin Luther King Day upon us, this is a good day to step away from the frivolity of my Monday posts. Thanks to Dr. King and many others, the 1960s were a time of civil rights gains. I was in my youth during the 60s, yet the more time moves forward, the more I realize about the gains since those days. In addition, as I get older, I also realize how much more society has to travel to implement true equality.

To those who did not live the turbulent 60s, I hope you remember that everything has a history. It’s the knowledge of history that helps us understand where we are in relationship to where we have been – and that view is necessary to understand the journey ahead.

As my years moved forward, I also realize importance of Dr. King using a message of peace to gain dignity for many. The 1960s were volatile times – especially 1968, which many consider one of the most turbulent years in American history. Even with the pathetic vitriolic behavior within today’s politics, 2010 and the small bit of 2011 are not even close to the tenor of 1968.

On the other hand, in the spirit of Martin Luther King Day and the words and work that Dr. King gave society, enjoy this short, well-done music tribute.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 82

On Two Arizona Hurts
Most Americans are rooting and cheering for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), and the more I learn about her, how could one not.

Another hurt is that of the shooter’s parents. As they understandably stay secluded within their home, the media remains camped on the outside. They must feel a wide range of emotions as shame, rage, shock, bewilderment, and countless other adjectives. Personally, I would like to see three things for them: all media leave, someone close to the tragedy reach out their hand of forgiveness, and hope that they accept those who reach out – and the sooner the better on all counts.

Note: NBC reported that one of the injured went to the parent’s home for grant forgiveness, but he couldn’t get access.

On Mindless Finger Pointing
Sarah Palin is right in saying, “We are better than the mindless finger pointing we endured in the wake of the tragedy.” However, is she is capable of mindless finger pointing?

Oh Rush for saying, “What Mr. Loughner knows is that he has the full support of a major political party in this country.” Are any conservatives out there going to challenge him?

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) recently sent a letter seeking campaign funds while also mentioning the recent shootings in Arizona and the Republican far right. What were you thinking?

On the Two Speeches
President Obama delivered a magnificent speech Wednesday night in Tucson. Honest, genuine, compassionate, eloquent, realistic, inspirational, graceful, and many more adjectives can describe the speech. Anyone denying so is simply lost wondering adrift in the woods of partisanship.

After the speech, out of curiosity, I tuned to Fox News to hear their comments, which were all positive. Now compare that speech with the video released from Alaska earlier in the day.

Of the Tucson speech, I don’t recall seeing Speaker Boehner (R-OH) or Majority Leader Cantor (R-VA) in the crowd. If that was the case, not a good decision because one of them should have been there.

On an Upcoming Speech
On Tuesday, January 25th, President Obama will deliver the 2011 State of the Union address. Hey members of Capitol Hill. Consider standing and clapping only after Mr. President is introduced and at his conclusion. In between, sit and listen with dignity.

As a side note, I suggested this in a comment on CNN yesterday in a comment to a good letter by Senator Mark Udall (D-CO).

On a PBS Series
Sometime ago I recorded God in America, a 6-hour PBS series about the role religious faith has played in shaping life, politics, and culture in America. Both my wife and I found it to be enjoyable and enlightening. Not only can anyone view each segment online, the series’ website also provides transcripts, interviews, a study guide, and other resources about the topic.

On the BCS Championship
Congratulations to Auburn and their fans for winning the the game, but not the true national championship because there isn’t one to win.

BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock recently said the “old system” is more likely to return than a playoff system. Then so be it! Break up the cartel!

On Rushing Waters
Our thoughts and prayers to those affected by the horrifying waters in Brisbane, Australia and most recently in Brazil. Please consider donating to the International Red Cross or your favorite international relief agency.

On an Approaching Day
Monday is Martin Luther King Day, and these words from Bill Tammeus’s Faith Matter’s blog stuck me: The progress we’ve made as a nation has been by fits and starts and, in the end, has left much unaccomplished. Each of us, no matter our ethnic origin, no doubt has a list of what has been left undone and needs to be tackled. (Source post)

Have a safe weekend.

On MLK Day 2010

With today being Martin Luther King Day, I find it appropriate to set aside my Monday entertainment feature to reminder others of something of greater importance. While new watchers will see various clips featuring Dr. King, I decided to repost one of my favorite reports from 2009. May it serve as a reminder of how far we have come, but more importantly, how far we still have to go on the journey for a better tomorrow. May Dr. King’s dream become a reality.

On a similar note, I started reading Tim Valentine’s post sometime ago. Not only has he taught me a lot, he makes me think – so I invite you to not only read his MLK Day post, but visit him every day.