I Have a Dream
This morning my daughter read the calendar and asked, “Who is Martin Luther King Jr.?” I suddenly found myself in a moment of reflection. Not necessarily self-reflection but as I explained that Martin Luther King Jr. represented opportunity and values of our country I couldn’t help but wonder if he were alive today, would he approve of where America is today?
The first thought was education. It’s sinful for a teacher to hold back a student who isn’t making the grades and therefore school systems release young adults who cannot read or write beyond elementary levels if at all.
An economy where statistics vary from 12-17 percent unemployed in our “growing” economy. It seems every week someone we know is facing a layoff or our community is becoming a ghost town and small businesses, and some large corporations close their doors.
Martin Luther King Jr. wanted equal opportunity. At the time it was for African Americans. He demanded they be able to stay at the hotel of their choice. That a seat on the bus would be of their choosing and not segregated, he believed a person should be hired for their abilities and not discriminated against because of the color of their skin.
Whose replaced Martin Luther King Jr. today and is standing up for Equal Rights for the citizens of this great country. My ears ring deaf. No one comes to mind.
I called my dad to ask him if Martin Luther King Jr. would be proud of today’s America. There was a pause, and then my father replied, “Well, I think Martin Luther King Jr. made a substantial impact on today’s America. We have overcome many prejudices, and many things are far more than I ever imagined they could be, and I’m sure Dr. King would agree.”
I asked, “Do you think, if he had lived, the first black President would have been before Obama?”
My dad said, “I think Dr. King’s death paved the way for many great things. It’s unfortunate but true.”
I’ve thought about that. Indeed I see obstacles that have been overcome because Dr. King dared to stand up for equality. That he dared to say, “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.“
His children have truly exemplary character. Remember when they forgave the man who assassinated their father?
There’s still a barrier, and sometimes that barrier is still the demographics that include race.
Take for example the 90 Pregnancies at one US High School. That’s 20 percent of the school’s female population. Or what about the argument that we want English as a Second Language to be eliminated from our school system or the equal opportunity to teach Spanish as a Second Language?
It ‘s subtle prejudice.
Regardless of our skin color, Dr. King’s words, “When are you going to raise the standards for my people? Because you don’t have to work any harder at educating them, if you do not raise your expectations for them.” ring true for anyone. How would Dr. King feel about the campaign No Child Left Behind? Would he, like me, instead view it as, “Allow No Child to Succeed”?
It’s true our country is far more of a melting pot than it was 39 years ago. It’s also true we “need work.”
I believe Dr. King would still call us out. He’d still admonish us for our government, for our prejudice for our inability to set power aside and see the prize. In the end, I think Dr. King would still declare, “I have a Dream“!
Do you think Dr. King would approve of today’s America?