I didn’t see or hear this anywhere on Monday:
You probably didn’t, either. There wasn’t even the obligatory “Has Martin Luther King’s dream been realized?” newspaper or TV story.
We didn’t even try.
America has regressed. The fight for freedom and equality has taken a few rounds off. Monday, January 16, 2017, was a day off for schools, banks and a few more random observers. The rest of America conducted business as usual; the very thing Dr. King warned us against in his famous speech.
The NBA played a full slate of games. Cavs vs. Warriors was the marquee matchup. Draymond Green continued his almost nonstop antics with a flagrant foul on LeBron James. Sports networks were abuzz with commentary about Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and his “salty” language about the New England Patriots.
There were marches, celebrations and other gatherings in honor of Dr. King, but they were in the usual places and conducted by the usual people. Our vigilance has given way to complacency.
I took my family to see the movie Hidden Figures during the holiday weekend. In part, it tells the story of Katherine Johnson, the brilliant NASA mathematician and physicist, who helped calculate John Glenn’s historic space flight aboard the Friendship 7 in 1962.
John Glenn was in my science books, history books and part of the political sphere when he became a United States Senator. Katherine Johnson, the black woman who made sure he didn’t wind up space brisket, wasn’t even a footnote.
Freedom is a constant struggle that requires daily effort. Indifference is the breeding ground for injustice. Simply put, when you don’t care, you don’t care.
MLK Day is not a holiday just for black people and social justice warriors. It is a day for all Americans to observe and appreciate the very high cost of freedom. Lives have been lost in the name of freedom in foreign wars and on our own soil.
Don’t let Dr. King’s legacy be lost to “back in the day.” Some millionaire athletes, a good movie and even an African-American President of the United States mean nothing if the children on Mehl Avenue in north St. Louis County and the children on Mehl Avenue in south St. Louis County never meet and never play together.
Yesterday was a sad day in our country. Please don’t let it happen again.