Sunday, January 17, 2010

Letter from a Puddle-Town Cubicle

Dear US companies not observing Martin Luther King Jr. Day tomorrow,

While dreading tomorrow's confinement in a dull workplace cubicle, I came across the realization that I shouldn't have to bother dreading it since tomorrow is a national holiday. This prompts me to think of all the companies that are open tomorrow without needing to be, and to ask them a few gentle questions, namely, why do you despise black people? Why do you so openly pine for a return of segregation, if not de facto legalized lynching, if not an outright resumption of the enslavement of Africans? Why do you consider Martin Luther King Jr.'s story to be a blot on our national history?

I realize many of you are headquartered in one of the former Confederate states, where the wounds from The War of Northern Aggression shall never, as a matter of principle, heal -- and for any southerners reading this, I am completely, totally, and absolutely aware that that war had nothing to do with race and everything to do with "states' rights" and stuff -- but many of you are not headquartered in a Confederate state. Either way, what's the trouble?

I mean, have you ever listened to this and considered its context?

Tomorrow's arc may be long but it bends toward closure: the stock markets are closed. The banks are closed. Nearly all school districts are closed. Nearly all federal, state, county, and local government offices are closed, including the US Postal Service, so to whatever extent your business enterprise handles incoming and outgoing mail, that will be at a standstill tomorrow.

I recognize that some business operations must go on regardless of holidays -- the guys watching over nuclear reactors, police, fire fighters, hospitals, and plenty more. Other companies have no particular reason to conduct business as usual tomorrow, but they will open anyway, and it is these I address when I ask: why? What's the fierce urgency?

To paraphrase a wise and rightly-revered figure of American history, if I have said anything in this letter that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forget about me and ask yourself why you hate black people so much and whether it's long past time to re-think that. If I have said anything that understates the truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for anything less than doing the right thing, I apologize to my six readers, who expect nothing less than maximum impatience and intemperance.

It's true I want the day off, and it's also true that what I want doesn't matter much. If your business is open tomorrow without needing to be, look no further for the blot -- the blot is you.

Yours for the cause of peace and brotherhood,


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