Every year at precisely this point while the rest of the country is honoring a man who sacrificed his life so that others (not just blacks) could live without tyranny, we in Arkansas engage in an ongoing debate about whether or not we should continue to jointly celebrate the day with another man who embodies the exact opposite of Dr. King’s cause.
This honestly is a debate we should not have to have in 2015. So I would like to, along with everyone else who decides to share this, call on newly inaugurated Governor Hutchinson to make sure this is the last time we ever acknowledge Robert E. Lee day as an official holiday.
For the back story here, Arkansas is one of three states (along with Alabama and Mississippi, no surprise here) to jointly celebrate Robert E. Lee day along side Martin Luther King Day.
See at some point an obviously brilliant state representative, senator, or governor decided we may end up offending a bunch of racists if we only honor MLK day. So since the rules of physics say for ever action there has to be an equal and opposite reaction, we decided to honor a man who lived and died trying to ensure those who did not have white skin continue to serve those deemed better. So we decided it best to not offend the people who live life offending other people by honoring someone who (thankfully) lost his war, his cause, and ultimately his ideology.
Now, those of you who are smart in the room will note that it is not actually the Governor’s job to set the official state holidays. That falls to Secretary of State Mark not the race car driver Martin, who for the past four years has failed each and every year to acknowledge problem with this. While we wait on Martin to fight his way out of a wet paper bag, I believe we must look elsewhere.
As the Governor of the state and the de facto leader of the party in power in Arkansas, Hutchinson has more than enough pull and political savvy to end this strike on equality in Arkansas.
If balance is important then I say we honor Robert E. Lee along with former Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus in early September. Those two are more fitting to share a holiday than Lee along with Dr. King.