Wednesday, May 6, 2015
I HAVE A DREAM TOO.....
In my search for more info on the civil unrest that has been going on, I was pulled towards the famous, “I Have a Dream” Martin Luther King speech. The sad fact is that parts of it still ring true today, almost 52 years later....
If you haven't read it in a while or never heard it in it's entirety, click here for the written version. I wondered as I went from line to line, how many folks only know the few sentences that are often quoted. They miss the point entirely if that's all the farther they go....
One part that struck me was.... “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. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned.”
You COULD say that America has defaulted for MOST of us. Those in charge have centered more on economic status than anything. If you aren't earning more than enough already, it doesn't appear to be getting any easier in the coming years.
The struggles of the middle-class on down aren't a priority to those we vote for and mean even less to those that run the businesses that employ them. Wages have been stagnant so long as it's now the norm to pay whatever the minimum can be for a particular position. Instead of a growing and vibrant workforce, we have one that “appreciates just having a job”. Is this the best we can do??? I thought this was the land of opportunity????
The rich and powerful have tested us – ALL of us – and we have done nothing in response. Isn't it time to join hands, man AND woman.... black AND white AND any other color that feels neglected.... join hands to start a new revolution? This one should be directed at those directly responsible for this condition we are in. A revolution for ALL to have a real chance to earn more than a minimum wage.... a chance to use your given abilities to their ultimate capabilities.... a chance to improve the conditions for you and your family... a way out of the crushing reality of a shattered dream.
How much of this trouble we see today is just a symptom of the declining middle-class? Once proud, the voices have been silenced by downsizing, outsourcing, and restructuring. I can't imagine, if we all have a chance to earn a good living at a job we are appreciated and needed, that many of these issues today would go away. A proud man is a mighty force. One that has the strength to lift an entire nation to higher highs, overcome the lowest lows, and keep the peace of prosperity going. If everyone was offered this opportunity, would we be standing in the shadows of chaos today, searching for answers to civility?
I also noticed the section that says, “We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling-off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment.”
We don't need any of the so-called leaders to tell us what to do or how to repair this long suffering damage to our brothers and sisters. If you step back and just watch our children interact with each other, before the hate is taught.... before the hateful words are learned..... before they are exposed to the violence and vengeance of the racial divide.... you will see the wisdom of youth. Playing together, laughing together, being together and enjoying the fellowship we all need. They do not see the differences of color, they see the sameness of humanity. The same number of arms and legs. The same words to communicate. The same sound of laughter, the same reasons to cry. Why do we ever change our minds when we are so correct from the start?????
We can and we must come together. Mistakes have been made, the past littered with memories that must be respected but not repeated. Only together can we bring peace to our land, prosperity to our children, and a future so bright it gives the rest of the world hope that they too can overcome their own lingering problems, to rise above it all, and see peace and prosperity in the eyes of their own people as well. It's time for us to be a leader again, not my intimidation, but as an example for others to want for themselves.
One final piece of the speech that struck me as a timely reminder from a national treasure..... “The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundation of our nation until the bright days of justice emerge. And that is something that I must say to my people who stand on the worn threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust all white people, for 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 and as we walk we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.”
This sounded to me like it was written last week. How crushingly sad that after all the pain and heartache, after all the violence, after all the death that came to our brothers and sisters, our eyes have not opened enough to see, what is so very clear to most sensible folks – the uniqueness of our humanity can never overcome the terrible decisions and mistreatment we bring down on other living and breathing souls. Be they brothers from down the street or our cousins from the other side of the world, we all ask for dignity and respect, which SHOULD be given freely by everyone. Whatever the disconnect, somehow we must find a was to bridge the gap of ignorance and set free the negativity and beliefs of the past.
We can't repair the damaged relationships by watching an interview, reading an article, or sitting back and hoping for the best. It will take a real effort by ALL of us to make our world the paradise it always COULD have been, what it always SHOULD have been, what it will ultimately WILL be.... with or without us.
Let's start today.....