Nobody loves MLK more than I.
In fact, I've always regarded him as the greatest American hero.
Standing up to oppression, employing Gandhi-style passive resistance tactics and leading his people to the promised land like an American Moses. He was truly a great man.
Does this mean we should take the day off? Absolutely not.
MLK stood for hard work, a sound education, and character building. None of these things can be achieved when we play hookie.
Instead, students and workers are forced to focus on yet another day off --after a slew of days off-- all-the-while drowning in consumerism just like they did during the holiday season.
It's deplorable, destructive and wrong.
In Texas, schools are closed for over two weeks during Christmas and New Years. Parents, single moms, single dads, caregivers, whatever... are forced to deal with the hurdles of watching their children AND expected to work full time too. (Most Texas Businesses Don't Take Off) Then, we finally get a break when school resumes so our children can get back on track. You see, when you have kids you MUST have a schedule. Routine is everything to keep your child balanced and your sanity intact. Taking another day off for shopping at the mall or spending cash at the arcades and bowling alley may not be what the masses need right now.
Of all the states that take MLK Day off, Texas deserves it the least. With the highest dropout rate in the nation, the greatest number of teen pregnancies, the lowest test scores, the most uninsured kids, the most children living in poverty, the leader in child hunger, the highest reported child deaths, Texas is the worst state to live in as a child. Not to mention Texas' revisionist history books that are infecting the schools like a disease.
Perhaps Texas school children should take the day to learn something. They should strive to stay on track at school, and learn some real history about MLK. They could invite local leaders to speak, hold workshops on equal rights, learn the truth about LBJ and the 1960's, go to a museum... I mean my God, there's so much more to do than go to a movie and shop. The possibilities are endless.
If you want to celebrate MLK then do it at school, at work, in your actions within your community. How about a day off in February instead? (That's Black History Month) Why January?? Why is it that right after the holidays we require another day off??? Keep your goofy parade. No child ever learned anything from a parade except that maybe they are afraid of large crowds...and they should be.