Time for some tough talk from a Rabbi.
I’m sick of hearing anti-Martin Luther King day kvetching from talking heads on radio and TV. Attempts to de-legitimize the holiday by focusing on allegations of MLK’s impropriety usually dominate the reactionary, empty-headed, mouthpieces that pass for cultural and political criticism today. I have heard some go so far as to claim that this day is illegitimate. It is legitimate to argue about what is the best way to commemorate the leading symbol of the Civil Rights struggle. It is fitting to discuss where we are today in relation to the battles of yesterday. It is time to make an accounting of the past and build for the future.
However, those cretins who seek to ignore, yeh to destroy, the legacy of MLK, and the national holiday which bears his name, are cantankerous ogres in search of legitimacy. They are venomous monsters who aim to not only destroy the good, the absolute righteousness that MLK fought for with words and deeds, but to revert America to a stratified, segregated, white-male dominated society, where women, minorities, and the disenfranchised ride in the back.
As Jews we have a moral obligation, a mitvah, to categorically reject these false-prophets which preach the hate and bigotry, whether they wear a white klan outfit, or a three-piece-suit. As Jews we must utilize this day to make peace between nations, between Blacks and Jews, between natural allies, so that we can focus on the major battles of the day: ending genocides, stopping slavery in Sudan, fighting Islamic terror and ideology, providing food, shelter, and healthcare to the disenfranchised, the poor, the downtrodden.
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”