In response to James C. Harrington (“MLK holiday an opportunity to organize for justice,” The Daily News, Jan. 18): Among the many, elegant and sincere proclamations by Martin Luther King Jr. is this fortuitous quote, “If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in the struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.”
Once more, all Americans universally celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 20. The intention to celebrate an exceptional man’s accomplishments need not be denigrated by inferring his accomplishment failed to provide current day satisfactions. Our society has embraced King’s message and is working toward his “dream.”
But contrarians report King has failed because we have done too little or done too much. Our work in progress is seriously disrupted by these contrarians.
Harrington presented a well-constructed but convoluted commentary on the national holiday that our total society adopted to memorialize King. Our country’s intent for that national holiday was to honor King’s accomplishments. King was the essential catalyst in the passage of civil rights legislation in the 1960s. King was the motivator of progress toward the purification of our society.
Harrington proclaims a waning of King’s motivation. Not so. King, Gandhi and Jesus aren’t the “what ifs” of comparison to today’s traumas. That construction of “what if” diminishes great accomplishments. Harrington’s commentary using the current traumatic condition as a “what if” portrays King’s accomplishments as ineffective because they’re not solving the current traumas.
Harrington constructed a false premise intended to elicit activism by saying, “In a strange way, the annual commemoration of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. stirs up unease in me. I fear it’s steadily enfeebling the power of the contradictions in our society that he forced us to face.” There has been no “enfeebling.”
Harrington’s commentary joins a vast number of un-enfeebled contrarian voices. Considering the vast vitriol, incivility and chaos, Harrington’s claimed “unease” fear is deliberate imagination. Contrarians are necessary for a diverse complex democratic society because they’re the fuel that drives good men on the quest for tranquility.
We have had the day of the celebration. Universally American society stopped — schools, work, and government function — formed processions heralding the life and contributions of a man who embodied civility while demanding equality for all. Only peace and civility, no call for violence or any “cruel” castigations or personal attacks were resident in King’s heart and his call for actions.
In the mantel of a contrarian, it’s most egregious when Harrington ignores civility, castigates and called by name Gov. Greg Abbott as “cruel” for acts that are contradictory with Harrington’s judgment. Castigation with a personal attack isn’t honoring a champion of civility — Martin Luther King Jr.
Harrington’s cataclysmal prophesying the intent and future effects of Abbot’s action is intellectually absurd.
Go to: 108 Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes — Inspirational Quotes at BrainyQuote. There you will have the messages of civility in King’s own words. Though specific groups claim King as their own, he is a universal hero.