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Today's holiday honoring the late, great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. isn't a day off for everyone. Some people embrace the spirit of the occasion


Poll: Which MLK Day Press Release Doesn't Belong?

MLK cropped.jpg
Today's holiday honoring the late, great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. isn't a day off for everyone. Some people embrace the spirit of the occasion by doing community service, while others are still stuck behind a desk at their day jobs. For media-relations professionals, it's one of the busiest workdays of the year. Because, really, is there a better way to exploit honor the legacy of America's greatest humanitarian than by claiming that a particular cause conforms to his principles of equality, nonviolence, and tolerance?

Here are the subject lines for three press releases that arrived in our general news inbox yesterday evening and this morning:

"250 Washington State Muslims to Meet with Over 100 Lawmakers"

"Nuclear Resisters Arrested Honoring Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday"

"State lawmakers declare war on 'birthright citizenship'"

Two of them sound like something MLK might hace supported if he were still around . One is probably causing him to roll over in his grave. But which one is it? Let's examine the contents of each message, highlighting a few key passages.

From message #1:

Some 250 Washington Muslims are scheduled to meet with almost 100 state legislators on Monday as part of the "2011 Washington State Muslims Day" at the capitol . . .

. . . Muslim voters attending the event will represent over 33 of the 49 state legislative districts. They will provide information on local instances of anti-Muslim hate promotion and hate crimes and will urge their legislators to speak out against Islamophobic rhetoric and bias incidents.

A peaceful campaign for equality by an ethnic group that is increasingly persecuted in today's society? That sounds right up MLK's alley.

How about message #2:

The Seattle Raging Grannies set the mood for honoring Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday, Saturday at the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo, Washington.

Eighty-three people from the Center participated in a vigil at the Kitsap Mall in Silverdale with the help of a full-scale, 44-foot-long, inflatable Trident D-5 missile. Each D-5 missile, deployed on Trident nuclear submarines, carries up to 8 warheads, each with an explosive yield of up to 475 kilotons. Each D-5 missile costs approximately $60 million.

Participants carried signs and banners calling for an end to war and nuclear weapons. Notable was a quote by Dr. King: "When scientific power outruns moral power, we end up with guided missiles and misguided men."

Back at the Center, Dr. David Hall, former president of Washington Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, presented the threats posed by these nuclear weapons stored at Strategic Weapons Facility-Pacific and deployed on the Trident nuclear submarines based at Bangor Navy Base in Kitsap County . . .

. . . After nonviolence training 12 activists risked arrest by symbolically closing the Trigger Avenue gate during the afternoon shift change as an act of resistance to Trident, a first strike weapons system. Blocking traffic symbolizes stopping the horrific threat of Trident missiles, for a short time.

Hmmm, MLK might have mixed feelings about a name like "Raging Grannies," but their hearts seem to be in the right place, and they have a quote from the good doctor to back up their actions. Bonus points for using civil disobedience to prove their point.

That brings us to e-mail #3:

Lawmakers from 40 states team up to stop 'anchor baby' spike

Lawmakers in some 40 states are joining together to draft model language designed for state legislatures to pass laws restoring the original intent of the 14th Amendment by ending birthright citizenship and outlawing the lucrative business known as "birth tourism," reported Kimberly Dvorak in the San Diego County Examiner.

The state legislators are working through two groups, State Legislators for Legal Immigration and the Immigration Reform Law Institute, to create a comprehensive package of model "National Security Begins at Home" that any state lawmaker can introduce to effectively shut down the ability of illegal immigrants and other foreign nationals to obtain U.S. citizenship for their children simply because the children were born in the United States.

Jeff Schwilk, spokesman for the SoCal Patriot Coalition, told the Examiner that birthright citizenship is a backdoor amnesty plan for millions of illegal aliens, mostly Mexican citizens, that use "anchor babies" to establish a foothold for illegal immigrant families to come to and settle in the United States.

"The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was never meant to bestow automatic U.S. citizenship upon the children of illegal aliens and foreign visitors," Schwilk told the Examiner. "The 14th Amendment was enacted to protect newly freed African-American slaves, not criminals and invaders from foreign countries."

Hateful rhetoric? Xenophobia? Distorting the constitution to support racial discrimination? It might be a stretch to say that's what MLK had in mind when he proclaimed "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

But hey, who are we to decide what MLK meant by those famous words? Let's hear your thoughts on the matter.

Which of These MLK Day Press Releases Doesn't BelongMarket Research

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