Light blogging this long weekend, leading up to Martin Luther King Day, still in a way our most controversial national holiday, and definitely the newest. Wonker's home state of Virginia, for various reasons, most of them not too good, didn't really cotton to this holiday until recently when the negative pressure proved too great.
Like many of our great figures, Dr. King was not always a saint. The Blessed Bobby Kennedy himself had MLK tailed as a possible Communist dupe; there were persistent rumors of his infidelity; and it's clear, in spite of various excuses by academics, that significant chunks of his academic writings were probably not original.
All that having been said, the Nation has always been worse for his loss. Following in Gandhi's footsteps, Dr. King adopted and promoted the mantra of non-violence as a way of bringing the Civil War to its final chapter. When violence killed him, his non-violent voice died with him, and violent radicals bore it away. America's black community has been conflicted ever since, and the Democratic party has used MLK's absence to drive what seems a nearly permanent wedge into the relationships between black Americans and everyone else to press its own increasingly dubious political advantage.
But perhaps it's time to pause now and look at what's happened to this country nearly 30 years after that tragic day, for all of us, in Memphis back in 1968, the Year of Pure Hell. Dr. King's non-violent approach to racial equality was increasingly bringing a majority of whites to back his aims. His death largely terminated his program, giving rise to the confrontational racial politics that dog us to this day. How can we all be truly equal if the Nation's laws essentially declare that we are not? When do we move on to the Promised Land? When leftist radicals, with a vested interest in the political uses of racial hatred, say so, which they will not?
If folks on either side of the racial divide, or what's left of it, would cut out the demagoguery and get back to Dr. King's basic tenet—colorblindness and equal opportunity for all—we could all depart the desert together and enter the post-racial promised land he always envisioned. A great idea in this age of continuing Islamofascist peril. Any takers? It's January, 2006, and it's been a long time.