Sunday, January 6, 2013

Honor By Omission

    As part of the 2013 Inauguration of President Obama, the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) has made a rather odd and less than successful attempt to honor Dr. Martin Luther King.  The online store of the 2013 PIC is selling buttons ($5) listed as “HONORING MLK BUTTON”.  The description reads:
Two official 57th Presidential Inauguration buttons featuring a quote from President Obama given at the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. Made in the USA.
However, on the buttons themselves, the honor paid Dr. King is somewhat muted, or rather, missing altogether:

This is a country where ordinary people find in their hearts the courage to do extraordinary things. - President Barack Obama

    There is no mention of, picture of, or reference to Dr. King anywhere on the button.  Unless someone is already familiar with President Obama's speech and the context in which it was given, there is nothing explicit or even implicit to tie the sentiment to the Baptist preacher turned civil rights icon.

    Ironically, the memorial honoring Dr. King, which President Obama was dedicating when he said the words above, had its own quote controversy.  Critics argued that the "paraphrased quotation [chiseled on the memorial] took King's words out of context, making him sound arrogant."  The Interior Department recently announced the words will be removed from memorial at a cost of some $700,000 to $900,000. (via NBC News)

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