The Fight Against Martin Luther King Jr Day

Martin Luther King JrAmerica is an almost comically racist country. I use the word “comically” because most people are extremely racist, but they have no knowledge of it. Oh yeah, they’ll admire those who fought against slavery 150 years ago. But they’ll also admire those who fought for it without seeing any contradiction.

It is mostly because of this that I find it hard to love this country very much. Of course, there is so much more. I admire intellectual endeavor, and more Americans hate it unless it results in something they can beat their chests about like going to the moon. Of course, the two things are related. If you think, then you know racism is wrong. That’s why our president is a such a proud racist: he doesn’t value thinking.

The Long Road to Martin Luther King Jr Day

On this day (kinda) in 1993, Martin Luther King Jr Day became an official holiday celebrated in all 50 states. The history of this is bizarre. It became a national holiday starting in 1986, even though Ronald Reagan signed the law in 1983. The holdout was Arizona, which actually lost the hosting of Super Bowl XXVII, because its people just couldn’t manage to support it.

There were two ballot measures in 1990. One (301) would have replaced Columbus Day with MLK day and the people hated it — voting it down by almost 51 percentage points. The other (302) would have just created a new state holiday, and it lost narrowly by 1.6 percentage points. Finally, in 1992, the people of Arizona approved Proposition 300 that combined Lincoln and Washington’s birthdays into President’s day and created “Martin Luther King Jr/Civil Rights Day,” by a wide margin of almost 23 percentage points.

Interestingly, the difference was not the specifics of the measure or that the people had had a change of heart. The difference was that Propositions 301 and 302 took place in 1990 — an off year. Proposition 300 took place in 1992 — a presidential election year. If you look at the numbers, you will see that roughly the same number of people voted against 300 as voted against 302. It’s just there were a whole lot more liberals who showed up to the polls to vote for Bill Clinton (who still lost, but only barely).

It still kind of bugs me that in the state of Arizona, Martin Luther King Jr Day is “Martin Luther King Jr/Civil Rights Day.” It isn’t the only state to do this. Idaho and New Hampshire do similar things. Now understand: I am in favor of turning Martin Luther King Jr Day into Civil Rights Day. I am in favor of this because I don’t like these celebrations being about specific people. King is a symbol for a wider movement and that is the thing that we should be celebrating. But I think that adding “civil rights” or “human rights” to the name is meant to diminish Martin Luther King. And that is not my wish, as King would always be an important part of any such celebration.

Robert E Lee Day?!

But I can deal with that. What I cannot deal with is what we find in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Virginia. In each of these states, they combine celebrations of Martin Luther King with Robert E Lee. We can forget that Lee was a slave owner whose military brilliance doubtless cost hundreds of thousands of extra America lives in the name of maintaining the enslavement of African Americans. Let’s just make it simple: Robert E Lee committed treason against the United States of America. He should have spent the last five years of his life in federal custody. He certainly shouldn’t have holidays named after him. The southerns who can’t understand that are unpatriotic America-haters who should be shamed at every chance.

To have Robert E Lee day is like having Slavery Day — the day we celebrate the hundreds of years that slavery made America so much money!

Why I Admire Martin Luther King Jr

I appreciate MLK for his work as a civil rights leader. But I most appreciate him because he was a humanitarian. Everyone with half a brain knows that King was in Memphis, Tennessee to support a strike by the mostly white American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union. There was certainly a racial component to it. But the fact is that King didn’t hate white people, even though he had every reason to. He was a humanitarian — something too few Americans are.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

3 thoughts on “The Fight Against Martin Luther King Jr Day

  1. I remember the Holiday controversy well. It was instrumental in the undoing of Governor Evan Mecham. I would add that although the anti Holiday voters initially carried the day, this was an unpopular position. Local media was nominally against it. You basically had to defend why you were being an asshole for holding that view. Conservatives had no trouble doing so, and were not generally ashamed of their views on the topic. But one was made aware that there was controversy.

    • Wild. I vaguely remember this debate, but I was 20 or so at the time and didn’t pay a lot of attention to politics.

      I suspect that today, since King’s message has been so defanged, and our culture so debased, one could practically run a used-car ad touting no-down-payment loans with clips of “Free At Last!” and most people’s reaction would be “disgusting, but that’s just how we are now.”

  2. I was actually thinking last fall that MLK Day should be moved, to make it more of a standout holiday. We have Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and MLK Day packed into two months, with no more federal holidays until the end of May. How about March 9, the day of the second march in Selma?

    I’m not sure, either, what to call it besides MLK Day. An ideal name would honor the movement, not just the leaders, yet be impossible to forget and change into something else (the way Memorial Day and Labor Day have been).

    To be really dark, we could move it to April 4, and call it “Racism Day.” That’s the anniversary of when Haitians started their rebellion, and anniversary of King’s murder.

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