Today is a national holiday in the United States to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. and Google are commemorating it with a special logo, which depicts four children of visibly different ethnicities playing hopscotch together.
The logo seems to illustrate King's now famous words, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character"
The Google logo clicks through to news and realtime updates about Martin Luther King, Jr where I discovered, again, that civil rights and the personal publishing power of the internet truly are a heady mix. Last month we saw controversy surrounding Google choosing to honor Rosa Parks in their logo rather than World AIDS day. Now, we see two people with aspirations to be president (rumored), using King's words to support their own political agendas. However, in many cases their words stand in marked contrast to their actions.
Sarah Palin has honored Martin Luther King, Jr. on her Facebook page with a note that appeals to a common faith in God between them and calls for her fans to "recommit today to continuing his work for a more peaceful and just nation". Yet, just recently Palin has been at the centre of a furore claiming that she is a victim of 'blood libel' after the recent shootings in Tucson, Arizona. The libelous accusations came from the coincidence that the shootings occurred in the same region that her team had previously 'targeted' for a political campaign, with a photoshopped imagery of a Crosshair over a map of the same district. Using such imagery to promote her political strategy arguably runs counter to the sentiment of peace and goodwill.
Nonetheless, her Facebook post has generated over 900 comments and 6000 'likes' from both supporters and detractors.
Another political pundit who has honored Martin Luther King, Jr. today is Glenn Beck who compared his position on non-violence to King's and called for a pledge of non-violence. However, Glenn Beck, who is backed by children's search engine Yippy is a supporter the right to bear arms and only last week had a picture of himself posing with a gun in a miami-vice style pose. That picture has been subsequently removed yet even today Beck's message of 'non-violence' can be read against a backdrop of Beck posing, almost comically, as an military commander.
Speaking personally, it seems that far from reflecting on the impact of civil rights on society today, both individuals are using the memorial day to further an agenda that is at odds with what Martin Luther King, Jr. actually stood for. A lack of eloquence, inappropriate timing and means of delivery characterize their positions and stand in acute contrast to the man we remember today and almost prove another of his famous quotations that, "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity".
However, I leave it to you to make your own mind up, as you can watch the original "I have a dream" speech in it's entirety via Youtube.
Nonetheless, yet again, all these links were found via Google, which demonstrates how it's logo is probably one of the most powerful means to rally a community around an idea.