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“I Have A Dream” + 45 Years

The Dream Has Been Realized

Originally Posted At The Minority Report

Today is the 45th Anniversary of the Rev Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech. While I feel certain that most everyone alive today is familiar with the words he spoke from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that day, I include a few of the more memorable lines:

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…

–snip–

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges…

–snip–

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

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.

And tonight, 45 years after that speech, Sen Barack Hussein Obama will accept the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. The political party that once stood athwart history, firmly planted in defense of the status quo, has finally joined with the Party of Lincoln in examining the content of character, rather than focusing on the skin color.

Forty-five years after the Rev Martin Luther King, Jr made that speech, that promissory note of which he spoke has come due. The little children of his time now attend Harvard Law School. The little children of his time have risen to become Cabinet Level Secretaries.

The child of his time is running for the highest office in this land.

Paid In Full!

The US Constitution, and that wonderful speech of 45 years ago, did not demand equality of outcome — merely equality of opportunity. The opportunity is now — the opportunity is equal. The time is now, to move beyond the dream, and to focus, on substance.

Sen Barack Obama has been given a great gift. Doors have been opened to him that were not available a few short decades ago. It is not necessary that he be elected President of the United States, in order for America to pass beyond this veil of latent racism that the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party demands we accept.

As the Rev King noted, 1963 was not the end, but the beginning of equality for the races. Let us hope that 2008 is not the end, but the beginning of equality of politics. A black man now has an equal opportunity to become President of the United States. As a result of this election, the same can be said of a woman, or an Indian-American, or any other member of any minority.

Barack Obama has campaigned on the premise that he is “The Chosen” or “The One.” He has campaigned on race — making it an article of faith that a vote against Barack Obama is a vote for racism.

Like Bull Connor before him, his politics based entirely on race, is a relic of the past — a past this country has tried mightily to move beyond. To repeat the words of the Rev King:

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 country heard those words and responded. It is time for Barack Obama to hear those words and understand.

The Minority Report

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