Fifty-plus Years Ago

More than fifty years ago, Martin Luther King, Jr. stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC and delivered his now famous and iconic ‘I Have A Dream’ speech. He spoke not just of the aspirations of an African-American preacher from Atlanta, GA but of African-Americans and of oppressed Americans, regardless of their physical complexion.

Today, while African-Americans and other minority-Americans can cite some progress we’ve made, we’re also seeing a harking back to the Jim Crow era in terms of the concerted assault by right-wing reactionaries on our rights as citizens and individuals. We’re seeing more in the way of inequality and inequity and a war being waged on those at the bottom of the economic and social totem poles.

We’re seeing the government, whether at the federal or state level, becoming more involved in our lives in ways we never thought possible and that are most unwelcome.

In other ways, we have become and are becoming a more dumbed-down country than enlightened one and it’s not just the average woman or man on the street but from our leaders, whether they are in the public or private sector.

The idea of a progressive tax regime, that a honest day’s and hard work deserves a decent and living wage, that healthcare access for all should be a right and not a privilege and that education access for all at a post-high school level should not mean one has to go broke in wanting to achieve this have yet to be more fully and better realized or have regressed.

I doubt MLK, Jr., were he still alive today, would have been thrilled about any of these developments. Dr. King, were he alive today, would probably ask Barack Obama why is he finding it so hard to simply stop the war in Afghanistan, close Guantanamo and better use the bully pulpit that is the presidency to do more to help African-American youth in terms of jobs and economic prospects and prosperity.

In the end, no one single person can do all for a community but they can be a means of inspiration for the rest of us to do the right thing by and for us all.

     

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