Martin Luther King Day

Forty one years ago Martin Luther King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech. Call me an idealist, a romantic, a deluded fool, but I get goosebumps every time I hear it. Maybe I wouldn’t feel this way if his dream had become reality, if his ideals of brotherhood and equality, freedom and justice had stopped being just that–ideals.

In George W. Bush’s America, there is no inspirational dream; there’s just a nightmare for those who are not rich, straight, and white. In Bush’s nightmare, you get all sorts of footnotes, addenda, and caveats, like this:

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.” [1] I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. [2] I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. [3] I have a dream that my four 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. [4] I have a dream today.
1. Equality for all, except for homosexuals. In Bush’s America, marriage is a right reserved for straight citizens.
2. Brotherhood for all, except for Muslims. If racial profiling, snooping through library records, and tapping phone lines don’t do it, surely special cards will do.
3. Freedom and justice for all, except for those who have oil. Those people will have to be bombed into submission, even if it means war with no end in sight.
4. No prejudice against anyone, except against women, blacks, browns, gays, the poor, liberals, and anyone whose definition of patriotism doesn’t fit.

Let freedom ring (someday).


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