The fact must be recognized and appreciated that King’s legacy is not about sentimentality and nostalgia but about action. Our job is to stand together and to create that community of love that Dr. King fought and died for.
I recently honored an invitation from Mme. Valerie Plante the newly elected Mayor of Montreal, to attend a reception at City Hall on the occasion of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The reception was held under the auspices of Brian Bronfman, president of Peace Grantmakers Network, a group of philanthropic foundations, individual donors, and corporate and institutional partners working together in support of applied peace efforts.
In the minutes preceding the commencement of the ceremony, as I stood aside from the incoming attendees, idly gazing at the hand-carved ceilings, stained-glass windows and the abundance of interplay between marble and bronze that now engulfed me, the unfolding scene slowly began to set the tone for growing disappointment, and ultimate disconnect.
Of note is the fact that as we celebrate the birth of Martin Luther King Jr., this year also marks the 50th anniversary of his assassination, a period that might not seem so long to some, but is in essence and reality a lifetime.
MLK was a visionary who had a great dream for America, and strongly felt that it was the young people of all races and religions that held the keys to the fulfillment of his dream. MLK Day is not a black holiday, but a peoples’ holiday, a day of interracial and intercultural cooperation and sharing. On this occasion the displayed collectiveness, togetherness and community was confined only to two shades of melanin.
For reasons seemingly better known to the organizers, but which still puzzles me was the conspicuous absence of young people from such an auspicious event, except for two young females 15, and 14 years, Canadian-born of Haitian descent, who spoke about the recent derogatory remarks made about Haiti by President Trump.
In his Conscience for Change talk, King spoke of Canada and paid homage to its importance in
helping slaves find liberation saying: “deep in our history of struggle for freedom Canada was the north star… far to the north a land existed where a fugitive slave, if he survived the horrors of the journey, could find freedom.”
Martin Luther King Jr. was also an advocate for education for all, and strongly believed that strong minds break strong chains and once you learn your lesson well, the oppressor could not unlearn you. For him education was seen especially in the Black community as a tool to uplift and inspire to action.
In his article, “The Purpose of Education,” King worried whether the educational system was failing. He wrote: “To think incisively and to think for one’s self is very difficult. We are prone to let our mental life become invaded by legions of half-truths, prejudices and propaganda.
At this point, I often wonder whether or not education is fulfilling its purpose. To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.”
Considering that today many schools value instructing what to think, rather than how to think, in addition to the tortuous academic path that beset Blacks in the educational system, this battle for promoting critical thinking should be ongoing. It is a vital part of his legacy that we should ensure schools are adhering to. Sadly, there was no representative of academia in its most rudimentary or subordinate form.
Compounding the persisting abysmal state of affairs was the visible evidence of failing to give enough justice to the legacy of Martin King, or usher in new and heightened awareness and consciousness of whom he really was – a man whose words and actions lifted a nation beyond the cycle of violence, and inspired people of all races by touching on the best of human character. There was absolutely no mention or recapitulation of the famous 1963, I Have A Dream address on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, nor pictorial depiction of any of the 8 peaceful marches that bolstered civil rights, not even the Bloody Sunday March, which was a turning point for the civil rights movement, building public support and clearly demonstrating King’s strategy of nonviolence.
It would have been interesting to succinctly elicit from the Caucasian attendees their knowledge level as it pertains to MLK and his legacy. Hopefully, the recognition would extend far beyond I Have a Dream, or the fact that he was Black, American, and a pastor.
In her speech The Mairesse briefly alluded to some plans/projects in the works, pertinent to the issues fought by Martin Luther King Jr. In the total absence of malice or rancor aforethought, or a claim to prognostication, it is not difficult to see or fathom the deep schism 50 years later in which a racially divided Quebec regards and reflects the legacy of Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement.
White Quebecers viewing the agenda on racial progress think that they have come a far way, and much progress has been made, on the other hand Blacks see a different picture, of how little progress has been made, and the challenges they still face such as racism, and police brutality.
In recent years the racial cohesion of Canada and by extension the province of Quebec has been tested through a spate of deadly encounters between police and minorities. The former is in some way borne out by the recent quashing by Premier Phillippe Couillard of the Commission on Systemic Discrimination and Racism in Montreal. Martin Luther wanted peace but not at the expense of equality, as he challenged those wearing badges and batons and even those sitting in the Oval Office.
Some widespread discriminatory practices have been going on for so long that its annoying effects have been taken for granted. Even after Blacks have managed to gain a foothold on the economic ladder, discrimination threatens to push them off, even after only one small step has been made. On the other hand, the pitiful few who do mount economic security, discrimination still persists and closes different doors.
Were Martin Luther King Jr. alive today he would not want any celebration for his actions, he would say that it is insufficient to look outside ourselves and communities in order to see the places where society is broken. He would instead want us to look at workplaces, institutions etc. that alienate people from each other based on race, gender, class, religion and sexual orientation, by looking at ourselves and communities made up of people like you and me.
Granted, my name may automatically qualify for omission from next year’s guest list, nevertheless I will always continue standing up for what I believe—that from henceforth the organizers need to take a deep hard look at the manner and means in which they disseminate, educate and celebrate the legacy of a King, one of history’s most important advocates of humanity’s cause.
Although some progress may have been made most of the other issues of which he spoke about is still as problematic as ever, especially in Quebec.
From henceforth let the day (January 15) be commemorated by remembering that Dr. King would not consider his campaign for change complete—and neither should organizers.
The civil rights leader understood that real change never takes place from the top on down, but only takes place when millions of people stand up and fight for justice.
So Full Steam—Towards Fulfilling the Dream.
Aleuta—The struggle continues.
The anniversary of the presidency and his adversaries—
What has Madness got to do with it?
President Donald Trump’s continuing reign of fire and fury
Any political system that puts great power in the hands of a single person must also reckon with the problem that creates. Economist, January 10, 2018
Yes, a year later after President Donald Trump has been elected via the American electoral college, we are still caught up in trying to make sense of it all. Folks are pinching themselves, to the point where they can feel; thereby being convinced that it is all so real.
A quasi anniversary gift to America’s 45th President is the up-close tell-all, gossipy, eye-opening book from longtime media writer Michael Wolff. With the turn of each page readers are brought line by line with the chaos and bitter battles of political life as they played out in the West Wing under a president whose sanity—even his own staff—claim is questionable as regards continued leadership.
The caustic accounts of Trump’s administration described in the book were based on more than 200 interviews, including with the President and members of his inner circle, after the author assumed a “semi-permanent” seat on a couch in the West Wing.
The book was instrumental in not only precipitating a bitter break-up between Donald Trump and his former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, but also a very public discussion about the present mental state of the President, more explicitly whether there are grounds present to invoke the 25th amendment of the Constitution allowing the removal of an existing president.
In “Fire and Fury” the president is depicted as an irascible, “semi-literate” man-child with no ability to plan, organize and pay attention and switch focus.
According to the author, the presidential advisors were undivided in nothing, except a belief that he was unsuited to be president. There were those, the author continued, who thought that the Prez was losing his mind, a concern which fuelled a halfway serious partisan discussion about Trump’s mental health. In a series of self-analyzing tweets, he claimed to be a very stable genius, outlining his rise from property developer, to television star, to presidential candidate and now president as symbolic of his claim.
While the President’s behavior may be indicative of serious mental illness, on the other hand the American public’s obsession with his character and anticipatory waiting for his next compulsive tweet is also cause for mental evaluation, as it diverts attention from deeper changes in America’s system of government. Taking into full cognizance the magnitude of responsibilities that accompany his office, and how ill-suited he is for the current position held, focus on his character is justifiable and paramount, but to be considered by his adversaries as a record of his presidency so far, especially on his anniversary, is incomplete and a dangerous distraction.
A diagnostic look away from the Book—Evidence of incompletion
Although Donald Trump has made and Tweeted lots of threats, thankfully he has not carried out any of his worst ones.
During his presidential campaign, he ranted about imposing 45% tariffs on all Chinese goods and rephrasing or getting rid of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico. While this issue may soon be a problematic one, at least not on its original scale. The wage growth of blue-collar workers is surpassing the rest of the economy, which is currently in fine shape and growing by 3.2% annually in the first quarter.
Unemployment has continued to fall since the departure of former president Barack Obama, with a corresponding climb in the stock market. The President labelled NATO outmoded and recommended the mass deportation of 11 million illegal immigrants.
However, so far the Western alliance stands, and in the 12 months to September 2017, the level of deportations were not remarkably different from that of previous years. While in the public’s view his executive order to withdraw from the fledgling Trans Pacific Partnership and the Paris climate agreement was idiotic at best, it was hardly beyond the pale of Republican thinking.
In addition, taking into consideration the fact that during the last two years of Obama’s reign, Senate Republicans confirmed so few judges President Trump is now moving the judiciary drastically to the right.
Trump’s pragmatism and lack of principle while repugnant, may yet signify his openness to deals than most of his predecessors. The administration recently integrated a harsh plan to deport nearly 200,000 Salvadoreans with temporary rights to live and work in America, with the suggestion of broad reform to immigration.
After spending most of his election campaign and first year in office ridiculing globalization, the President also announced that he would be attending its biggest yearly celebration—the World Economic Forum in Davos where he will rub shoulders with the globalists.
Donald Trump is not the first president to voice concerns about who is suitable to control nuclear weapons, look at Richard Nixon’s drinking, or John F. Kennedy’s dependence on analgesics, anxiolytics and during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, an anti-psychotic.
Insanity or Plain Vanity
A nation remains transfixed in awe at Donald Trump and his ever–increasing flaws. America is seemingly being destroyed by his presidency, as he lacks the insight and intellect to lead such a great nation. Now, we have arrived at the point where constant brooding and smoothing over his unfitness has become an exercise in desire-fulfillment or dream come true, in that the subtext is so often the wish for his early removal from office.
Not given to clairvoyance or prognostication, divination or mere machination, permit me to state and true to fate, for the time being it is clear to see that such a wish is mere fantasy.
Have no fear the President is going nowhere.
Americans should not force but allow Mueller’s probe into campaign dealing to run its course. Only then can they hope to gauge whether his conduct has reached impeachment stage. The rush to condemn, or vindicate, the president before the inquiry is finished only serves to politicize justice.
Using the 25th amendment as a means of ousting the President is a battle in futility, as the originators had a totally different type of incapacity in mind. If it were simple and easy for it to be used by a group of Washington insiders to remove an existing president, then America would be shifting towards oligarchy.
The thought of deposing Donald Trump on the grounds that he may be mentally unstable smacks of a coup. Partisanship is displayed and nourished each and every time that the adversaries/critics put their desire of stopping the President before their means of so doing.
Diagnosis and Prognosis
The speculation regarding the mental state of Donald Trump was ever-present since before his election.
While it is impossible to diagnose the President’s mental state, he does not appear to be any more insane than he was when the American electorate chose him over Hillary Clinton.
A book titled “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” edited by Bandy Lee, a psychiatrist at Yale, briefed members of Congress before Christmas. A bill has been signed by more than 50 Democrats to compel the 45th president to submit to an examination of his fitness for office.
Now drawing condemnation from the international community, the President has been branded a racist over reports that he referred to certain nations as “shithole” countries.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis on October 16, 1962, an event that fully tested the presidency of John F. Kennedy, his brother, and closest adviser Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy, on learning that Soviet nuclear missiles had been deployed in Cuba, just a few miles off the coast of Florida, remarked: “Oh shit! Shit! Shit! Those sons of bitches Russians!
Another frequent diagnosis applied to the president is narcissistic personality disorder. His behavior, (especially the heightened need for appreciation and approval) according to John Oldham of Baylor College of Medicine, and who presided over the compilation of the chapters
in DSM 5 on personality disorders is reflective of things seen in patients with the disorder.
The doctor further cautions that a lot of successful people have a touch of narcissism, which he calls healthy narcissism.
Reasons aplenty may abound as to why Trump is ill suited to the presidency. Some of these may have become more obvious since taking office, but were there before his election. Madness has nothing to do with it.
This rush to diagnose the president could be viewed as evidence that his critics find his behavior so maddening it is driving them to despair.
The lingering question: Who is mad? President Trump or the American people because they have been had? He vowed to make America great again, but did not say in the absence of pain.