One thing I love about Dr. Ben Carson is that he can say a lot in just a few words. Take a look at what he tweeted this morning:
As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. let us pay more attention to the content of one’s character than the color of one’s skin.— Dr. Ben Carson (@RealBenCarson) January 20, 2014
Nailed it! A lot of other people thought so, too, tweeting sentiments like “Amen!” and “Exactly” in response:
Dr. Carson’s words were a brilliant and appropriate echo of Dr. King’s work. Contrast that with this excerpt from The Huffington Post’s article, “Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Is Still a Black Holiday for Far Too Many Americans”:
The blind eye, indifference or even out right disrespect of the King holiday 28 years after the first King national holiday was officially observed shouldn’t really surprise. It took decades and hard battles to get the King federal holiday bill enacted in the first place. Along the way the King family and millions of King admirers and devotees had to watch and listen to right-wing talking heads, led by one time North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, heap every kind of slander, slur and abuse on King as a communist, agitator, unpatriotic, plagiarizer, and sexual philanderer.
The King holiday in far too many public and private circles is still regarded as a “black holiday” or more charitably a “civil rights issue.” This reinforces the chronic fiction that King was solely a black leader, and that the civil rights movement was a movement only for blacks and that his holiday should be celebrated exclusively by blacks.
But when we have polls that persistently show a racial divide on just about any and every race tinged issue from the Trayvon Martin slaying to even the election and reelection of Obama, then it’s even easier to see why the King holiday is not exempt from that divide, and sadly blind eye, indifference, or even hostility toward the day. Even though the King holiday is not a black holiday, for far too many Americans it is.
The sad part about it is that Dr. Carson’s tweet and the HuffPo article are getting at the same point: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words extend beyond a particular race and apply to all of us. However, while Dr. Carson takes a poignant and positive approach to that point, the latter takes a road of bitterness, resentment and divisiveness.
While it is important to expose injustice and wrongdoing, sometimes, less is more. Sometimes, hope trumps resentment. In my opinion, hope is what today is all about.
It’s a day to recognize how far we’ve come thanks to Dr. King’s service, to realize what kind of nation we want to be in the future, and to remind ourselves what it will take to get there. To me, Dr. Carson’s tweet accomplishes that.
Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, everyone!