A Dr. King history and current events teachable moment…
Listening to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s (D-Arizona) speech yesterday caused me to slip into educator mode. So here is my imagined compare and contrast teachable moment for her and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) lesson-plan prompt: Sen. Sinema’s call for “regular order” is similar in either (or both) tone or substance to the same one made by (allegedly sympathetic to civil rights aims) White Alabama Christian ministers to Dr. Martin Luther King.
And so, I think both Senators should read Dr. King’s response to those ministers in his: “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” where he offers a counter perspective that asserts that “regular order” will not work in the face of evil forces that thrive on the hypocrisy of ‘irregular-disorder-order’ as it enables the mistreatment and disenfranchisement of other human beings (e.g., slavery, segregation, discrimination, voting rights suppression, and violent “officially sanctioned and excused” oppression).
And in my teacher notes-to-self: It would seem that history and human moral progress (e.g., stopping Nazi Germany, ending South African apartheid) clearly align with Dr. King’s perspective. Extra-ordinary actions are needed to address extra-ordinary inhuman and immoral behaviors.
I am presently reading a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy), and it occurs to me that the operational definition of “public” (not private) courage is standing up (regardless of the consequences) and standing against the normalization and the regularization of the ugly acts of dehumanization.