Citizen King (PBS, 2005) **** The United States of America has never had a stronger, clearer moral voice than Martin Luther King Jr. and probably never will. Citizen King focuses on MLK during the critical years of 1963-1968, beginning with King’s arrest in Birmingham, continuing through successes in Birmingham and Selma, failures in Albany, Georgia and Chicago, and shifting focuses on poverty and the Vietnam War, before ending with his assassination in Memphis.
MLK’s flaws are not given much attention in Citizen King. His plagiarism is not mentioned due to the time period covered and his infidelity is only mentioned in passing. However, it only seems right when these failures pale in comparison as they do to MLK’s accomplishments.
1968 with Tom Brokaw (History Channel, 2008) * I’m not sure whether this documentary totally missed the mark or if it just put the mark in the wrong place. Continue reading →
Last year, linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, previously known only to special teams aficionados, gained national attention when a Maryland state delegate asked the Ravens to prevent Ayanbadejo from speaking out in support of same-sex marriage. Vikings punter Chris Kluwe published a response on Deadspin eviscerating said delegate, becoming a national civil rights figure himself. Now, both are out of jobs.
This isn’t about them. After all, Ayanbadejo himself noted that he was 36 years old and not producing like he used to. As a Vikings fan, I know firsthand that Chris Kluwe was and is a maddeningly frustrating punter. These decisions can be easily defended in a football context.
As we speak, twelve human beings, fraught with fallibility and riddled with bias, will decide whether or not an approximate tenth of our nation’s citizens are entitled to the protections afforded all Americans by the 14th Amendment: “No State shall… deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Despite my knowledge of and interest in constitutional law, I really can’t merit a guess as to how the Supreme Court will rule. With eight justices probably already decided, my gut tells me that Justice Kennedy is leaning towards overturning Prop 8. Whether or not that leads to an end to the discrimination against our gay brothers and sisters for simply being who they are remains to be seen.
However, come June, we will await our Brown v. Board despite the very real possibility that we are only at Plessy v. Ferguson.