Fifty years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to over 250,000 attendees of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. He talked about his desire to see America become a nation that truly lived up to the concepts and principles laid out in our Constitution; in the broadest strokes, that all people are created equal, are endowed by their creator with the unalienable rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness and that these rights must be protected for all Americans in order for them to have meaning for any of us.
In so many ways, our nation in the fifties and sixties was a completely different place from the America of today. It was a world of segregation; of separate restaurants, schools, bathrooms and even drinking fountains. It was the world of Bull Connor, Orval Faubus, the proliferation of the Ku Klux Klan and the murders of Emmett Till and Medgar Evers.
It was also the world of Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, the Little Rock Nine, the Congress of Racial Equality, the formation of the NAACP, Nina Simone, Charles K. Steele, Fred L. Shuttlesworth, A. D. William King, Sr. and, of course, Martin Luther King, Jr. It was a world where blacks were intimidated, assaulted and devalued on a regular basis. While the Emancipation Proclamation had changed the career status of blacks 100 years previous, remarkably little had actually changed since. Blacks were still seen and treated by so many, manly those associated with the Democrat party by the way, as unimportant, deserving of hatred and derision and even as sub-human. When Dr. King took to that microphone 50 years ago, he carried within him the frustration of fighting a long a painful battle that often yielded more heartache and sorrow than success, but he also carried within him the bright burning flame of hope; hope for a better world where people wouldn’t be separated by what they are, but would be valued for who they are (i.e.. character over color). In his words, “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 world of today is much changed from that world, although not always for the better and often not as much as we might wish. We still have racial division and inequity. While the overall national unemployment rate is 7.4%, the unemployment rate among blacks is 12.6% while the rate for blacks between the ages of 16 to 19 is 41.6%. The overall poverty rate for blacks in America is 35%. While black women only make up 14% of the female population of the country, black women have 36% of all abortions in the nation. On average, 1,876 black babies are aborted in America daily. It’s been estimated that since 1973, black women have had around 16 million abortions. 67% of black children are being raised in single parent homes and one in fifteen black men are behind bars.
So the question occurs to me, one that’s been asked over and over with many different answers: How would Martin Luther King Jr. view this country if he was alive today, 50 years after speaking his explosively powerful words? Now, I know that it’s truly folly to claim to know what’s in the heart and mind of another, but this man exposed so much of his heart and mind in his writing, his speaking and his actions that I think it’s relatively safe to draw some pretty solid conclusions.
I don’t think there’s a simple answer of either positive or negative to the question, either. Truthfully, there is so much that he would be happy to see. Our college campuses welcome students of all races to study side by side. Black Americans like Oprah Winfrey, Russell Simmons, Kenneth Frazier, Sean Combs, Tyler Perry, Robert and Sheila Johnson, Don Peebles have excelled in business to become incredibly successful and wealthy. No sport is off-limits to black athletes, nor is the entertainment industry. Blacks take an active role in our government, from local, state and federal legislatures to the court systems, including the Supreme Court, to government posts throughout the White House and ambassadorial positions to other nations and to the United Nations. Dr. King would also be overjoyed to see that we live in a time where a black man can even find the position of President of the United States of America within his grasp.
Now, that being said, there is plenty that I believe Dr. King would be devastated to see, as well. Our public schools are failing and, instead of working to fix them, the government is more focused on keeping those students they claim to want to protect locked into those schools, hiding behind the concept of equality and claims of trying to prevent a return to segregation. Instead of teaching kids to think and giving them the keys to better themselves, the school system, all the way up to and including most colleges and universities, are more akin to indoctrination centers focused on instilling the liberal agenda on impressionable minds. In the words of Dr. King, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” In today’s school system, the function has become to fill one’s head with propaganda to further the cause of our increasingly socialistic government. It doesn’t help that the majority of our various celebrities use their notoriety to further that agenda even more.
I believe that the casual approach to human life that we’ve taken would horrify him as well. We’re killing each other for money or designer footwear or a desire for fame or for religious beliefs or just to combat boredom and, of all of this casual violence, the biggest epidemic is the explosion of black on black crime. With all the threats and dangers that have been leveled against black Americans over the years, the threat from other blacks may be the worst and definitely the most out of control.
Add to that the fact that we’re killing our unborn at such a high rate and with such efficiency as to make the most blood-thirsty despot envious and I suspect Dr. King would positively have tears in his eyes. In 2012, there were more than 1.2 million abortions in the U.S. and it’s been estimated that there have been 54,559,615 reported abortions in America since 1973 (based on reported information from the Guttmacher Institute) Dr. King was a man who valued his faith and dedicated his life to fighting for those who were being victimized. His heart would bleed for the unborn as well as the living victims of injustice. As he said, and this applies to all races, “The Negro cannot win if he is willing to sacrifice the futures of his children for immediate personal comfort and safety. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
While we do have blacks in this country that are now in positions to influence or make laws, policies and judicial rulings, the majority of them are using that power to strengthen the new chains of slavery: entitlements, dependence on government and victim mentality, while those blacks (mainly conservative blacks) who stand up against the implementation of these chains and vilified, marginalized and subjected to some of the most hateful, bigoted, intolerant attacks to be seen since the days of Dr. King. And this is where we come back to the biggest point that’s been weighing heavily on my mind. While I did say that I felt that Dr. King would be overjoyed to see us reach a point where a black man could become President or where others, both black and other minority ethnicities could achieve high level positions in the government, whether they be appointed or elected, I suspect that the actual people in those positions, including President Obama, would create a much different reaction within him. To repeat once again what he said in his speech that we’re commemorating, “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.” When dealing with our current batch of liberals, be they black, white or any other color (although the focus is mainly on black liberals, due to the subject matter), there is very little that is positive in their characters. These black liberals, from Barack Obama to Attorney General Eric Holder to politicians like Representative Sheila Jackson Lee and Bobby Rush to members of the self-proclaimed black leadership like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, excel at race baiting, dividing instead of uniting, berating and bullying those who disagree with them and attempting to change the culture, laws and structure of America into something counter to how America was created. Dr. King would never have gone along with their shenanigans. His focus was on putting an end to racial divisions and hatred. He wanted to see both sides come together, “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.” Dr. King regularly cited from the Constitution, using it as the touchstone from which to launch the campaign for true equality for all, paying homage to the importance and value of the document, not looking for ways around it to get his way or citing it only to further his agenda, as so many liberals do today.
President Obama has even tried to claim this past Tuesday that Dr. King would’ve liked his Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. On the Tom Joyner Morning Show, Obama said, “I think he understood that health care, health security is not a privilege, it’s something that in a country as wealthy as ours, everybody should have access to. And starting on October 1, because of the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — anybody who doesn’t have health insurance in this country is going to be able to get it at an affordable rate.” Well, I see two major problems with that assertion. First, Dr. King was a very intelligent man, both in terms of academic intelligence and common sense. I don’t believe it would’ve taken him long to see through the carefully crafted veneer to the rotten core of this bill that is designed to attack and cripple, if not outright destroy business in America, both small and large. He would see that this destruction would imprison the individual, blocking them from career growth and the ability to reach upward toward excellence. I don’t believe that he would ever have accepted the premise spread by Nancy Pelosi and others that we had to pass the bill in order to find out what was in it. That sort of ‘logic’ may be accepted by many today, but in Dr. King’s time, where a hand held out in friendship could still be hiding a knife meant to do harm, quite literally at times, those sorts of assertions would’ve been viewed as naive idiocy at best. Then, once he looked at the heart of the bill and the layers designed to gradually drop the nation further and further into dependence on a government controlled monopoly until there could be no climbing back out, he would’ve spoken out strongly and passionately. The concept of being taken care of by the government was completely opposite to his message. He held that everyone should be treated equally, be treated with respect and dignity and given a fair opportunity to put out the effort to improve their lives. “Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead and the unborn could not do it better.” He was a man who understood the difference between a handout and a hand up. The damage that Obamacare is poised to cause all Americans is the sort of damage that he spent his life speaking out against. Obama must be either delusional or simply grasping at anything to lend legitimacy to his bill to claim that Dr. King would approve of such a thing.
Now, I know that a lot of this has been very negative in the face of observing such a wonderful historic milestone, but hiding from the truth or sugar coating it was something that Dr. King never did. He met the reality of injustice and wrong-doing head on at every opportunity. He stood up and fought the enemies of liberty at every turn. In his day, those enemies were racism, hatred and those who grasped for power and wealth by walking on the backs of those they deemed to be worthy only to be victims, suited only for serving their purposes. Today, our enemies are divisiveness, the erosion and eventual collapse of our values and principles, and those who grasp for power and wealth by walking on the backs of those they deem to be worthy only to be victims, suited only for serving their purposes. The more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s always good to remember the giants in our past, to celebrate their brilliance and courage and sacrifice, but if we want to honor the memory of people like Martin Luther King, then we have to get up and follow his example. Stand up for what’s right. Oppose the victimization of our people and the tyranny of those trying to take on the role of our masters. Protect the foundation of this nation which was founded on freedom for all; the concept that all of us were created equal and were endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Most of all, fight, fight and then fight some more. Never quit fighting for what’s right. Never quit fighting against what is wrong. Dr. King was arrested 30 times in his fight for civil rights and he never quit. Never fail to fight for our brothers and sisters to keep them free from victimization and slavery, even if they’re going along with the program happily ignorant to where they’re heading.
I know that my words are not as strong as others, so I’ll leave you with strong words from a very strong man that I greatly admire and am so grateful to for standing up and fighting:
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Written by Randy Lynch
The writings of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Bureau of Labor Statistics
U.S. Census Bureau
American Community Survey
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
Kids Count Data Center
National Institute of Justice
Pew Center On The States
The Guttmacher Institute
“Abortion Statistics: United States Data and Trends” by NRLC education director Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon