What? You didn’t know it was Robert E. Lee AND Martin Luther King Jr. Day? Well, it is only if you live in the South. All other thirty-someodd states in union recognize only the Federal holiday of Martin Luther King. For many Southerners, it is a dual holiday: a Federal and a State holiday.
And for all of you who live outside the Masy-Dixie line, it was a State holiday first. It was a day recognized for Lee and Stonewall Jackson back around the turn of the century, before Martin Luther King, Jr. was even born. (I’d be real interested to learn the story of why his parens named him “Martin Luther.” Were they devout Lutherans?)
I decided to try to do some very quick research (very quick) about the day wikipedia turned up this:
- The state of Virginia as part of Lee-Jackson Day, which was separated from the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday there in 2001. The King holiday falls on the third Monday in January while the Lee-Jackson Day holiday is celebrated on the Friday preceding it.
- The state of Texas, as part of Confederate Heroes Day on January 19, Lee’s actual birthday.
- The states of Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi on the third Monday in January, along with Martin Luther King, Jr.
- The state of Georgia on the day after Thanksgiving.
- The state of Florida, as a legal holiday and public holiday, on January 19
I’m one of those who believe the adage that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.
But I’m one of those who have mixed feelings about the way this particular holiday is all done now. Part of me thinks it is a good idea to recognize two men who contributed greatly to the society–in particular, the South–as contemporaries of their day. What bothers me is that it’s becoming another case of the Federal government out to abolish something state-sanctioned.
I think probably as the political season heats up, I’ll be stirred more and more along these lines. I’m a hardcore Jeffersonian. I hold to the idea that the best government is that which governs least.
I’ve told many people face to face that I don’t really consider myself a Republican, but I find myself pushed that direction by the Democrats more and more every year. Not to let the Rs off free: they also grow the government, it just happens to be in ways that I approve of more.
I’ve got a friend who continually tells me he thinks I really should be a Libertarian. Maybe. I dunno. I just know that with our current two party system, it comes down to most folks either choosing the lesser of two evils…or, not voting for someone, but against someone else.
That’s kinda depressing.
Oh, where’s Daniel Boone and David Crocket when you need them?