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Some Republicans Would Rather Work While White Than Enjoy MLK Day
We wish this surprised us
Welcome to another Martin Luther King Jr. Day! All across the nation, Republicans are quoting that one line from that one speech while simultaneously banning critical race theory and attacking diversity, equity, and inclusion programs as "woke" propaganda. It's insulting and demoralizing, but at least we have a three-day weekend! (Well, you do. I'm still working.)
Republicans aren't even that sure they want the day off. Some post-racial Americans were asked in The Economist/YouGov poll, “Do you think that Martin Luther King’s birthday should be a Federal Holiday?” Fifty-five percent said (paraphrasing), "Sure, I'll sleep in on Monday." Twenty-four percent said "no" and 21 percent were "not sure," which is probably subtle code for "no."
Not surprisingly, the highest support for the Dr. King holiday was among Democrats at 78 percent and lowest among Republicans with just 41 percent. (White men without college degrees are the least supportive.) When the Senate passed the bill establishing Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983, 48 percent of Republicans were in favor of the holiday.
President Ronald Reagan reluctantly signed the Dr. King holiday into law. The bill had passed with veto-proof majorities in the House and Senate, so all he could do was whine about it.
"While I would have preferred a day of recognition for his accomplishments and what he meant in a stormy period in our history here," Reagan said, minimizing decades of of state-sanctioned apartheid as merely a "stormy period." "I would have preferred a day of recognition similar to say Lincoln’s birthday, which is not technically a national holiday, but is certainly a day reverenced by a great many people in our country, and has been. I would have preferred that."
Reagan had defended known racist Sen. Jesse Helms from North Carolina, who'd accused Dr. King of promoting “action-oriented Marxism" and “radical political views." On the Senate floor, Helms claimed Dr. King had "Communist associations" and was a "Communist sympathizer." Reagan suggested during a 1983 press conference that we'd know if Helms' smears were true or not "in about 35 years" when the FBI released its surveillance tapes.
"I don't fault Sen. Helms's sincerity with regard to wanting the records opened up. I think he's motivated by a feeling that if we're going to have a national holiday named for any American, when it's only been named for one American in all our history ... he feels that we should know everything there is to know about that individual."
Dr. King spent almost a third of his life under the FBI's watch and when those records were finally released in 2018, it was clear that the FBI had uncovered nothing, certainly not supposed Communist Party ties, that justified the years of wiretaps and obsessive surveillance.
The other American who has his own national holiday is George Washington, and he literally owned people. We didn't need FBI records to learn this, as he was fairly upfront about it during his lifetime. Helms actively supported the former Confederacy, who were a bunch of racist traitors. Dr. King was an honorable man with human flaws who deserves this day that's set aside to honor his memory.
So, Republicans should hit snooze on their alarms today and just accept that it's because Dr. Martin Luther King existed and changed the world for the better.
[ Mediaite ]
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