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Monday, January 16, 2006

Martin Luther King Day

Today is the day in which we celebrate one of the greatest men in the history of America. He should, in my mind, be held up to the same status of American-hero-greatness as George Washington. If not a higher status. And I think he is, largely. However, I don't want Martin Luther King Jr. to ever become as mythical as, say, a George Washington.

For modern citizens of the U.S., George Washington may as well be a Roman god of some kind. We've made him and people like him almost demigods. Humans who are viewed as larger than life. Even though, realistically, we could all do things as great as a George Washington-type figure, in the ideological sense, we never can. You might say we've over hyped him. The idea of George Washington is so much bigger than the man himself could have been.

But I hope that Martin Luther King Jr. never becomes that. Because the beauty of Martin Luther King's message is that we can all make a difference. We don't have to be larger than life. I can be just like him. You can be just like him.

I think it's dangerous for great men to be given a status which is unattainable by the average man. Because if we can never become like them, why should they be idolized at all?

Here is a quote I heard recently. It is officially my favorite quote of the year.

"It is a cruel jest to say to a bootless man to pick himself up by his own bootstraps."
- Martin Luther King Jr.


At 5:27 PM, Blogger blackcaesar said...

speaking of straps, what's with the noose?

At 6:02 PM, Blogger Syar said...

You've officially made that my favourite quote of the week.*

happy martin luther king day. :-)

*if bootless guy has socks, he can "pull up his socks" which although lacks the flair of bootstraps, still does the job.

At 7:45 PM, Blogger Former Intern Andy said...

"Speaking of straps, what's with the noose?"

Oh, The Hanging Stranger is a short story by sf Philip K. Dick. The noose is sort of related to that. It really doesn't have much to do with anything other than that it's my favorite short story of his.

At 8:20 PM, Blogger Caro said...

happy mlk jr. day

may the force be with you

At 7:40 AM, Blogger Luke said...

Happy belated MLKj day!

At 8:25 AM, Blogger Adammmmmm said...

George Washington died so long ago that he lives on only in stories. MLK is still remembered by our parents, which makes him human. Just wait. 30 years from now he'll be a god too.

At 8:46 AM, Blogger Chris said...

I agree. It would be very disappointing if MLK Jr's character was lost to mythical status in the same way that Washington has become a potent, unshakable symbol of all things democratic, pure and true.

Many of our greatest minds are flawed. The British tolerated Winston Churchill's battles with alcoholism and depression, but never ignored them. He was an incredibly inspiring leader, but come the end of WWII, his political career was effectively over.

At 9:11 AM, Anonymous anycollegestudent said...

On the other hand, and equally startling, is how people like Hitler become larger-than-life villains, allowing people to dismiss their behavior as non-human. As if humans aren't capable of awful deeds

At 9:41 AM, Blogger Lex said...

Nicely said. Here in Greensboro, N.C., where the sit-in movement for civil rights began, there's a tendency to view the original four N.C. A&T State University students who sat down at the Woolworth's lunch counter as somehow larger than life, rather than as what they were: four scared college students. It didn't have to be them; it could have been any four.

I think sometimes that the misperception to the contrary is what keeps a lot of good things from happening in this country today. People think of greatness as a cause when it's actually a consequence.

At 9:26 AM, Blogger Lia said...

I'm so used to reading sarcastic cynicism here (that's a compliment!) that I was slightly shocked to see a meaningful, serious post (at least, I hope it was a meaningful and serious post. didn't sound very sarcastic.), and I just wanted to express my agreement with the sentiments expressed.

At 9:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree on the quote bro. While it's sounds intellectual and makes for a fun visual in your head, it's not really useful IMHO.

People who have 'nothing' can have 'something' by taking control of thier lives. By believing in themselves and thier abilities. By picking themselves up (by the bootstraps or whatever). Being supportive and helpful (where appropriate) of others bettering thier situation is an act of kindness and humanity. It's the best thing you can do for another human being.

Besides, MLK banged chics on the side right after he talked about God and being moral. Is cheating and betraying your wife a way to keep the peace and be a strong leader? It's not like it was a one time thing....i'm forgiving, but this guy slept around like Tommy Lee. As for Washington, you got to be kididng me? He was a God and the type of man this country has not seen in a longtime.

At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

is'nt being PC so much fun everyone?

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One of the biggest men in the history of America is Martin Luther King,why? because He was so important to the new life of the black people in USA,so his day is so important to me.

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