Guest blogger Jana Mathews: Making Martin Luther King Jr. Day a national holiday was a HUGE mistake.
Before all of you get your politically correct panties in a pinch, hear me out:
The government had good intentions when it honored the great civil rights leader with his own named holiday, yet I can't help but think that legislators should have known that doing so would produce such a bad outcome. Sadly, MLK Day has suffered the same fate as other federal holidays set aside to memorialize American heroes (I'm thinking specifically of Presidents Day, Veterans Day and Memorial Day); namely, it's become a three-day weekend. Deny it all you want, but you know it's true: if Martin Luther King's birthday was in June, you know you'd have a barbecue!
If we really wanted to honor remarkable people and events from our nation's past, we wouldn't let our kids out of school on the days designated to remember them, but rather, we'd keep them in. Instead of giving kids another vacation that they don't need, I'd like to see schools dedicate Martin Luther King Jr. Day to honoring the great leader's life and mission by performing school and community-wide acts of service.
Of course this will never happen because any proposal that asks children to do something for someone surely will be shot down by a small but vocal minority of parents who will whine that volunteerism is a violation of their children's civil rights.