Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dr. King

A non-feels BEDA Post

45 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. This (of course) was long before I existed, but the legacy cannot be forgotten. A man of peace murdered for speaking truth about the lies that Southern institutions and culture was based upon. He spoke against the untruth of Liberty in the United States. He made certain that everyone knew that there was no 'good enough' when it came to equality.

What is most amazing about Dr. King is that he didn't fight; his movement was all about resistance. Authority has no idea how to respond to a provoked person who doesn't respond to their provocation; who isn't discouraged by the use of violence against him. Dr. King and the many people who used non-violent protest knew that might isn't what's right. Justice, no matter what the powers-at-be believe, is always right in this world. Dogs, firehoses, a noose... these things have no morality and the truth about what is moral and just will always beat them in time.

He was the perfect leader at the perfect time. And he remains a perfect example of how to struggle against inequality. A perfect reminder of why no institutional or cultural prejudice is acceptable. It is ones obligation to stand against such prejudice even if it's unpopular or difficult or dangerous.

It is apparent that the nation is still grappling with issues of injustice; the constitution and the rights within still doesn't apply to everyone. Not long ago, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for and against marriage equality. Justice's questioned whether or not this movement was going 'too fast,' which shows that there is still a ways to go. Rights should never be considered gradual things; a person is entitled to them and it's the Court's job to give it them when the Legislative Branch fails to create laws that are in line with the Constitution and the Executive Branch chooses to enforce these unjust laws. The Court isn't there to judge whether or not something is comfortable; it is not there to conform to popular opinion. It is there as a citizen's only protector when law is unjust and the Court should have no consideration other than protecting everyone's constitutional rights.

We must not ignore that while much progress has been in terms of equality in the law, that cannot be said of culture, private industry and institutions. In fact the lag between the law and reality is quite severe. The law can be rewritten with a simple stroke of a pen, but the mechanism of discrimination can't be taken apart that easily. Old prejudices linger. Those who had been disenfranchised remain disadvantaged. While a lot of overt racism, sexism, homophobia and the like is no longer a part of our culture, those things still remain. Minds still harbor old prejudices and more importantly old institutions and class structures hurt the progress that people who were subject to legal injustice are able to achieve. These things mostly are not intentional by the government or those who control the means of production. But they will not fix themselves gradually as newly recognized rights become older and more established. The rights that were denied to groups of people will continue to hurt those groups even when their rights are restored. The injustice can only be stopped by the restoration of rights as well  as the propping up and protection of that disenfranchised group, because even if the hurdles are removed for that group that doesn't mean they aren't still stuck with a lousy starting position.

Talk about run-on paragraphs.

Thanks for reading


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