Conservative Viewpoints

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In the name of MLK; Bryan Wright has it right

Posted by Stephen on January 17, 2011

Bryan Wright is a principal in Weld County; a district north of Denver, Colorado, where controversy swirls around the anti-Martin Luther King editorial being aired by school board member Brett Reese.

Reese, who owns a local radio station in Greely, Colorado, has been blasting King, and the holiday that honors the civil rights leader, through an editorial calling King, “a degenerate embezzler, a “plastic god” and an America-hating communist.”

The Associated Press is reporting that Reese is unapologetic about his anti-King position.

“Facts are facts, truth is truth,” he said, adding that he might pre-empt other programming to air the editorial round the clock.

The 40-year-old former carpenter claims he helped build houses for Habitat for Humanity in the Mississippi Delta and once dated an African American woman. He insists he’s not racist.

He also said that he’s not trying to become a lightning rod for debate over the holiday, which was controversial in some states at its inception. “That’s not what my push is. I think it’s important for people to discuss any issue openly, freely and without being assassinated or bankrupted.”

Reese, while choosing to use and unnecessary and inflammatory tone, may have a legitimate point. Why does America continue to allow fear to paralyze progress?

We spend so much time condemning the point of view when we don’t agree that we miss the golden opportunity to educate, to converse, to listen, to question, to learn, and ultimately, to find solutions through civil discourse. At one time we were the greatest nation in the world because we followed a train of thought to a conclusion that opened the door to innovation and progress.

Today, there is no civil discourse; if you disagree with Barack Obama you are a right wing racist; if you state that you are a Democrat then you are a socialist and an obstructionist. Things have become too personal; the atmosphere is super-charged with emotion and everyone is in attack mode.

It is interesting to consider our current condition on the day honoring King who established non-violent protest as a powerful social and political tool in the face of extreme violence fueled by fear of the unknown and fear over a loss of power and privilege. Sure, we associate the civil rights movement with racism and rightfully so.

However, racism is simply a byproduct of ignorance and the fear it fuels.

For the purposes of this blog, it was pointed out by Reese that King was less than perfect in his personal life. According to Reese, and frankly many others critical of King, King’s business practices were questionable. Reese has chosen an aggressive commentary which clearly leaves little room for thoughtful response.

At the end of the day you either agree with Mr. Reese or you don’t and if you do you cheer and if you don’t you either stop listening or respond with equally aggressive attacks. That’s human nature and it’s why Reese’s path rarely leads to the discourse and conversation Reese claims he desires.

On the other hand, Bryan Wright has it right. Wright, as an educator, recognizes that life is full of teaching-learning moments. The task of an educator is to seize such moments at every opportunity because they are precious, and at times, elusive. Reese, in his possibly misguided attempt to disseminate information, has created such a moment, and Wright as a master educator has captured it.

“To assume somebody is perfect because they’re famous is misleading,” Wright said. “What makes us special is that we’re allowed to do something great despite our shortcomings.”

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