A Farewell to King

Brian Covert

I was too young to know the initial impact of his philosophies, but after having seen all the recent coverage on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday tribute, I feel like I knew the man personally.

Which is just what those who follow in King’s footsteps want people to do — not forget the human rights gains made by King and other black leaders during the 1960s.

But more importantly, not to let those basic human rights slip away through time. To do so would be a sad statement on social affairs.

Most of us know of King just through his “I Have a Dream” speech. But he was much more than a dreamer. Delving into King’s background, one finds that he was a man of practicality as well, a man who wanted to see his dreams take root in everyday life.

He was one who aligned himself with the maxim of practicing what he preached, however physically and mentally painful the process was.

King’s followers idolize him as a man of depth and character — traits that in the real meaning of the description are truly rare in today’s society.

King’s critics at the time labeled him a troublemaker, but it was those same skeptics that King beseeched his followers to love the most.

Facing high-pressure fire hoses, guard dogs and an angry Anglo citizenry in the South, many of King’s followers indeed found it hard to love their brothers. But King pressed them on.

Scanning through some of the current regional news, the timing of King’s birthday seemed to have a kind of ripple effect in Visalia, where an estimated 300 persons gathered recently to voice their opposition to a proposed Ku Klux Klan headquarters there.

And surprisingly, the person behind the headquarters proposal was a former Sanger man, described by one local resident as a “troublemaker” who never got anywhere in life.

It’s ironic that King was once described the same way.

On another note, I recently overheard a local person [Rosalee McCloud, the
Herald bookkeeper] joke about having a similar day of tribute for white “hillbillies.”

Well, I’m all for it. As long as it’s constructive rather than destructive, and as long as it doesn’t infringe on anybody’s God-given rights. This is a free country and we’re all entitled to equal billing when it comes to personal pride.

After all, isn’t that what Dr. King was preaching?
One down, four to go.

I’ve kept one of my new year’s resolutions by going to a Fresno Falcons hockey game last weekend. I had resolved earlier in the year to go at least once during the Falcons’ regular season, and I finally made good on it.

What made the resolution even better was that the Falcons won over the California Blackhawks in a last-minute goal that had the local crowd on its feet.

Yes, ice hockey is a violent sport, like many others. But I found that cheering a hockey team is a good way of releasing pent-up frustration. Psychologists may disagree with that theory, but it worked for me.

So, with one new year’s resolution in the bag, it’s time to concentrate on my next endeavor: skiing.