01/15/2006: A contemporary history lesson...
Chris Kromm at Facing South makes note of the origins of the Martin Luther King birthday holiday, and how it is the result of the labor movement and working-class activism. The lesson he draws from this history:
This is the story of reform in America. Rarely does it come from the top -- it comes from thousands or millions of people, taking action in an organized way until the system can no longer ignore their demands.For those of you who keep strict track of these things, today is the 77th anniversary of the birth of King.
And apropos of Martin Luther King's birthday, and what his life and martyrdom represents in the history of this country, I think the Umpire at Corked Bats (too long absent from that blog; welcome back!) has an apt comment:
What I will add is this: I sense that liberals are divided in this country between those who have had the rude awakening over the course of Bush's presidency that none of the progress that Progressivism won during the last century is in any sense permanent, secure or settled--and those who believe that we have forever secured victory in the battles we have already won and so the stakes just aren't as high as the more finnicky folks would think. Whether we like it or not--from the attack on Social Security to the torture of prisoners to the out-in-the-open equivocation of those currently running our country, etc etc--most of the lessons of the Twentieth Century are simply up for grabs.
For God's sake (no pun intended), we are debating evolution again.
And that brings me to say that liberals may need to become radicals again--not in the "violent revolution" way that the word is popularly recieved, but in the sense that they have to come back to their fundamentals--their roots (hence radical)--before they can make further "progress". We have to fight about the distribution of resources again--because it is not settled. We have to fight for racial justice again, not simply politeness. All the cultural sensitivity in the world will not bring back New Orleans. It is not settled. We have to fight for human rights again. Shockingly, it is not settled.
Len on 01.15.06 @ 08:11 AM CST