A GREAT AMERICAN HOLIDAY

1. It’s Monday, January 16, 2017.

2. Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

It is a day to celebrate.

Celebrate a life devoted to justice. Celebrate the idea that in America, we work on improving the imperfect and righting the wrong. Celebrate the diversity of our nation and the way the differences work together to make a stronger, more imaginative whole.

And here’s how powerful these ideas are. Dr. King lived just 39 years. He died 49 years ago – a longer span than his lifetime – and there are those among us who believe his ideals of peaceful protest and advocating for people who aren’t getting a fair shake have more power than ever before.

The election didn’t change that. Hopefully, it rekindled that in the complacent and informed the young.

There’s plenty of reason to dread what happens after Friday. But Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a reminder than even the brutality of racial hatred can be confronted and conquered.

It starts – emphasis on the starts – with the force of a chorus of millions singing “We Shall Overcome.” Then keep going from there.

I hope all of us reflect on this day and recommit to living lives dedicated to helping others and attaining justice. Have a great MLK Day!

3. Two things I thought about reading President Obama’s interview with New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani:

— How did this guy find time to read all the books he mentions and still run the country? He is the epitome of the literate person taking what he reads to heart and mind in everyday life.

Would that we all?

— I have the over/under on the number of books Obama mentions in the interview that Trump has read at zero.

3. If you don’t understand how much of an American hero John Lewis is, take off your flag lapel pin and take your flag off your car and house. Because you don’t fully understand what that flag stands for.

Yes, the flag represents thousands of men and women who died in wars and skirmishes.

But it also represents the pursuit of justice and the willingness of some brave men and women to endure hardship and pain to achieve it.

John Lewis is awe inspiring. And if you read the reaction to what happened this weekend, you can see that even many of those who disagree with his comments about Trump respectfully understand that.

Which is why Trump picked on the wrong man.

There’s more courage and honor in John Lewis’ fingernail than Trump has in his whole body.

I was thrilled that the result of the Trump Twitter tantrum was Lewis’ books selling out on Amazon. But I don’t think the commercial reward means as much to a man with the integrity of John Lewis as the understanding that millions of his fellow Americans appreciate who he is and what he stands for.

If you want to figure out what makes America great, start with John Lewis. And work down from there.

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