Monday, January 18, 2010

What Exactly Is Smitherman Protesting? Seriously!

If Chris Smitherman and his followers from the local NAACP are protesting the issue of minority contracts on CPS construction projects, then I can understand the point. I don't like the fact that Smitherman has debased the local NAACP chapter into being little more than a lobbyist for black owned companies, but putting that aside, inclusion in public contracts is a fair issue to be concerned about.

The article from the Enquirer states that the protests are about working on MLK day. Seriously? This is what the protest is about? Working on a holiday? That is not a civil right and Smitherman knows that. Private companies, which are doing the construction, can be open for work any day they wish. I did know it was a priority of the NAACP, to require private companies or even vital public services to refrain from working on this particular holiday. Why would Chris Smitherman make MLK into a political football? Today is a day we should remember the man and his message and honor him. Today is a day that many people fought for and wanted, not as a political day, but a day where everyone (all races!) can honor what Dr. King did and the dream he died for.

I'm surely going to get flack from some for daring to criticize the leader of the local NAACP on today of all days, but I believe that is, in part, what Dr. King wanted: everyone to be judged by their actions, not given leave to exlpoit ideas and a movement for their own embellishment. I'm judging Smitherman by his actions and his actions are not of a man looking to help people, they are the actions of a man looking to help himself and a few of his allies. That does not do justice to anyone's memory, no matter how superficially similar it may appear. MLK was about than just knee-jerk protests. He had principles. Smitherman could use a refresher on those principles.

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