I posted Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I have a dream speech” to this blog and have spent some time contemplating it over the past few days. I try to listen to the speech every year on the holiday in his honor. This year the speech was particularly thought provoking. As readers of this blog know, I have written extensively about the Democratic primary contest that is quickly becoming the Hillary and Barack Show.
Hillary Clinton is an intelligent person that stands for things that for the most part I can get behind. Race was injected into this contest based on comments made by Hillary and President Clinton. I think that their comments were taken out of context by people who wanted to inject a discussion of race onto the agenda. Those people, ironically, were “leaders” in the African American community. They were responding to shockingly bad journalistic coverage of these issues. The
Unfortunately, unless he can get back to his populist message, this debate all but torpedoes Barack Obama’s campaign. It is sad because a national discussion of race would be a good thing for our country. We need to continue the discussion of race. The leaders of the civil rights movement pushed race onto the agenda in the 1950’s and 60’s. They forced us to think about our own views and confronted us with the difficult reality of prejudice in
So where are we today? In 2008, many people want to believe that racism is behind us. Unfortunately it isn’t and in many ways it is worse now. In the 60’s racism was in your face. You often knew where you stood with people. Now it is incredibly taboo to discriminate based on race. That is why you have people telling pollsters that they would vote for a black candidate, but inside the voting booth, all bets are off.
Barack Obama tried very hard to make his candidacy about an American running for President as opposed to an African Americans running to be the first black President. We will know that we are past our racial divide when a black person can be elected without having to run as a spokesman for every black person in
I may very well vote for Barack Obama and I don’t care what color his skin or what his ethnicity is. I am drawn by his message of uniting rather than dividing Americans. I have determined that the President is head of only one of the three co-equal branches of government and so, in order to govern effectively, a President must be able to build consensus. For a candidate, like Hillary Clinton or John Edwards, to say that they have a list of things that they are going to do on day 1 is arrogant. Arrogance in a President is almost never received warmly on Capitol Hill. Paul Krugman of the New York Times, several weeks ago wrote about the differences between the various policy plans advocated by the various campaigns. By and large, there is little difference between the Democrats on policy. As I have said, in the absence of major differences on policy we need to focus on vision, message and style.
Dr. King, in response to the growing popularity of groups like the Nation of Islam and the Black Panthers, said: “The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.” Perhaps the
Let’s go through this quote again and change a few key words:
“The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the [Democratic] community must not lead us to a distrust of all [conservative] people, for many of our [conservative] brothers [and sisters (to make all the feminists happy)], as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom [, liberty and prosperity] is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.”
Sounds like it could be an endorsement of Barack Obama, doesn’t it?
“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.’” Is it still just a dream? Today, I think it is.