MLK Day was first celebrated as a national holiday in 1986 (note- not all states officially observed it until 2000). And while Reagan had signed into law (he seemed to be opposed to it in many ways), many republicans- led by the firebrand ultra-conservative Senator Jesse Helms vehemently opposed it.
But the memory that has always stuck in my head from that first MLK Day was the comment made by DC area shock jock “The Greasman”. Something to the effect of “why don’t we kill 4 more of them and we can take the whole week off”.
I wish I could say we have come a long way since MLK’s day. In many ways we have. But the idea of equality, or even just being seen for who one actually is, unclouded by conscious or not judgements based on race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, income… is sadly a long way off.
I think that despite being a white male- I had the oppurtunity to see what many groups really mean when they talk about discrimination and xxx’isms…because I willing chose to be part of a discriminated against group- those that followed the Grateful Dead. And so saw many of the nasty, vile behaviors of our society and its law enforcement Something that if I had not experienced first hand, my views would likely be markedly different.