Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, honoring the birthday of one of the leading proponents of nonviolence and spokespeople of the civil rights movement. In addition to providing a day off from school, work, etc., the holiday gives us all an opportunity to look around us and ask whether the world we currently live in lives up to Dr. King’s dream of freedom, equality and justice.
Are we there yet? That depends who you ask. George W. Bush would probably say we’re doing pretty well, judging by a statement made earlier today. In Bush’s words, “by simply living a life of kindness and compassion, you can make America a better place and fulfil the dream of [King].”
But what about the nearly 36 million Americans living under the poverty line? Or the family and loved ones of the many transgender people murdered annually around the world because of their gender identity? Or the legions of gay, lesbian and other queer citizens who cannot legally get married, serve openly in the military or adopt children (in some states)? What would they say? Do the powers-that-be even care?
Happy birthday, MLK.