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MLK Day should be reserved for service

Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 00:01

When President Barack Obama was publicly sworn into office for his second term on Monday, his inaugural address was filled with hope, and talk of equality for all minorities, fitting for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

But the day typically devoted to service across the country thus became a day devoted to politics. 

As well-intentioned as Obama may have been and as symbolic as it may have been for the first African-American president to have been inaugurated on the day devoted to a civil rights pioneer, the Inauguration Day festivities detracted from the social change intended to be
engendered. 

Each year, millions participate in King Day of Service. While millions, continued to this year as well, more than 800,000 people attended Inauguration day festivities, likely several million more watched on television and an entire day was devoted to media analysts and pundits dissecting Obama’s speech and plans for his second term. 

While Obama spoke of wanting to see equality for all groups of individuals in society, what may have been more inspiring to a country of doers would be to see their leader in action serving those groups on this day as opposed to hearing a beautiful elocution of dreams.

Though the speech carried impact, actions would have carried more.

While Jan. 20, the date enscribed in U.S. Constitution as Inauguration Day, fell on a Sunday, the festivities that accompany it should have been pushed to a later date to preserve the sanctity of MLK day. 

Though Obama is not the first president to be sworn in on this federal holiday, he could have taken action to prove that Washington is not a city that is bound by archaic rules written by irrelevant forefathers, but one that is constantly enacting change in society to best serve all citizens.

 

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