Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Dr. King Day!

This video tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. set to Irish rock band U2's excellent song, "Pride" made me cry like a pregnant lady watching a birth show on TLC.

This was one of my favorite songs when I was fifteen. A white girl living in the Midwest during the conservative Regan era, my hippie heart felt squelched by suburbia until I discovered this song. At the time I didn't know very much about Dr. King. Just as my love of The Smiths and Morrissey lead me to an interest in vegetarianism, my love of U2 lead me to my love for Dr. King, Gandhi, and nonviolent resistance.

I was born too late to have been able to march with civil rights and anti-war activists. Instead I laid on the basement floor in my bedroom, eyes closed, listening to the album "The Unforgetable Fire," dreaming I was a part of the movement.

My mom sewed me a couple pairs of bellbottom pants. I would occasionally walk down to the corner flower shop and buy some daisies to wear in my hair at school. But that was about the extent of my hippie activities. Kinda lame-o.

I was born too early to be a young person today, when Dr. King's dream is closer to reality. Katie is off school today to honor Dr. King's birthday. Last week she came home from school, from kindergarten, to inform be about "this great man Mark and Luke Were King and how he used love and peace to care about everyone no matter who is different!"

She learned this at school, at age five. We didn't learn about Dr. King at school when I was five. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day wasn't even observed as a federal holiday until I was fifteen, and then there was a big controversy about whether or not he deserved it.

I'm happy to see this change in my lifetime. We've gone from a suburban white girl having to learn about historical peace activists through her subversive pop culture interests to a suburban white girl being taught about this great man by her public school teacher, sitting next to twenty-one other kids, some white, some black, some both, lots of in between.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, everyone!