Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday
-- MLK Day, National Day of Service, Corporation for National and Community Service
-- "National parks free to all on Martin Luther King Jr. Day," ABC News
-- "Why Donald Trump said 'shithole countries': He was playing to his racist supporters. Afterward, conservative pundits tried to defend him," Joan Walsh, The Nation
From the article:
Let’s look at what really distinguishes Norway from Haiti. Norway is a social-democratic country with a high tax base, one that invests in its people, providing health care, college education, and childcare. It has also made a remarkable commitment to gender equity. The reason we don’t have a lot of Norwegians clamoring to live here is that it would, for most of them, likely represent downward mobility. Haiti, meanwhile, is a failed experiment in colonialism, capitalist brutality and, yes, racism. The tiny island country has never recovered from the global punishment imposed by slave-holding, colonial powers after a slave revolt made it a free if impoverished nation more than 200 years ago. The mentality that chooses to compare the essential worth of the residents of the two nations, rather than the conditions that prevail in them, is just a high-falutin’ variation of racism. ...2. Jerry Large, columnist for the Seattle Times, has a column ("Martin Luther King Jr. predicted backlash against economic and racial progress") discussing the forthcoming book “To the Promised Land: Martin Luther King and the Fight for Economic Justice,” (W.W. Norton, April 2018). From the article:
Meanwhile, it must be said: Trump is working hard to turn the United States into a shithole country—one that is run by a corrupt kleptocracy, that funnels money to a comparative handful of ruling families and impoverishes the rest of us. One that imposes work requirements on Medicaid recipients. One that imposes tax cuts for the wealthy and refuses to provide medical care to children. If Trumpism succeeds, Norway might have to make room for refugees from another shithole country. What a global embarrassment this is.
King aimed for a deep transformation of America, not just the sweet vision of children holding hands that is so often celebrated on his birthday. We need to understand more about that if we are going to get back on a road to what he called “the beloved community,” in which all people would be valued and treated with dignity.King on capitalism: The uncomfortable MLK).
Michael K. Honey has spent decades studying King and writing about him, and he is determined that more people understand King the way historians do.
Civil rights for all Americans was just the beginning of what King sought, Honey said. King wanted to eliminate poverty, assure everyone could have good health care, education and housing, and turn the country away from war. ...
Since King’s death, we’ve seen voting rights under attack in many states. We’ve seen the tremendous progress that civil-rights laws made possible stalled in the decades after. Affirmative-action efforts have been pared down, schools resegregated, and economic inequality is increasing.
... people of color still face significant disparities in the economy and society. For example, December’s jobless rate of 6.8 percent for African-Americans compared with 3.7 percent for whites and 5.1 percent for Hispanics. Minorities are segregated in poorly funded schools, too, an impediment for future achievement.
Which brings us to the uncomfortable MLK, the one you’ll hear little about as we mark the holiday. Although King believed — like Frederick Douglass in the 1860s — that the vote was essential to minority empowerment, he increasingly focused on economics and inequality toward the end of his too-short life. ...
When he was assassinated, King was planning a Poor People’s March on Washington. He advocated a universal basic income that would raise everyone — poor minority, poor white — to middle-class level. And remember, this was the late 1960s, when the (mostly white) American middle class was at its high point, and the rich were taxed at 70 percent. Yet he said:
“We have come a long way in our understanding of human motivation and of the blind operation of our economic system. Now we realize that dislocations in the market operation of our economy and the prevalence of discrimination thrust people into idleness and bind them in constant or frequent unemployment against their will. The poor are less often dismissed from our conscience today by being branded as inferior and incompetent.”