Did you know that in 1994, Congress "transformed the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday into a national day of community service"? I sure as hell didn't, but I find it a much better way to honor a man's life than simply giving kids a day off from school.
And since Obama and his posse email me regularly, I've learned that there's a pretty big push from our next great president to make tomorrow our first of many national days of service. I'm all for this too. I'm hardly the most active "engaged" citizen out there, but I think I do a pretty good job with the time (or, more often, donations) I've got to give. And I do my best to instill those values in my son. We regularly clean out his toys, books, and clothes and select items to donate. He saves 50 cents of each week's allowance in his "charity" bank, and uses the money to buy a giving tree gift each Christmas. And The Kid food drives like nobody's business.
But we can always do more.
Today I told The Kid about the national day of service. He wondered why the president even has to ask people to serve their communities. "Shouldn't we already be doing that anyway? Just because it's nice?" And then he ran downstairs because he was certain he had a couple pairs of outgrown boots that would be perfect for the shoe drive happening in West Seattle.
(Incidentally, this particular shoe drive was dreamt up by a West Seattle-ite who thought it might be a better use of shoes than throwing them at the Federal Building on the 20th in "honor" of our outgoing president. Might I suggest that if you're one of the many planning to symbolically throw shoes at Bush, you reconsider and throw them into a donation box instead? Imagine that Bush is trapped inside the donation box if that helps you work out some of that aggression.)
If you're interested in doing something more than taking the day off tomorrow (even if you're like me and don't get the day off anyway), you can find events in your area here. The West Seattle Blog has a list of events on the West Side, and I suspect other neighborhood blogs are doing the same.
Whatever you decide to do, I wish you all a happy MLK Day, a fulfilling Day of Service, and a fucking awesome Inauguration Day on Tuesday!
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