Monday, January 21, 2008

Report on the State of the Dream

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Let us see how his dream is coming along:

"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.""

Strides have been made, and steps have been taken back. Do we all have equality under the law? The federal and state governments have put in racial quotas, taxes different groups at different rates, gives money to some groups, but not to others, and has laws on the books written in such a way that they can pick and choose when and how to enforce it. Nonetheless we are seeing more social equality -- that is, more equality among individuals. So King has been quite successful here.

"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."

The demands for continued white quilt and reparations for the distant descendants of slaves continues to make this difficult at best. Go to a high school lunch room, and you will see that neither group sit at the same lunchroom table, let alone the table of brotherhood. Still, strides have been made socially. It is difficult for people to overcome their natural aversion to people not in their group -- racism is deep, and goes back to our tribalist roots. Still, the U.S. has done more to get people to sit down together at the table of brotherhood than has any other country. We still have a ways to go, but we should be proud (for a change) of how far we've come.

"I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice."

I lived in Mississippi for almost two years, and I'm afraid that state is still far behind the rest of the country.

"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."

Sadly, this is still not the case. Racial quotas at universities and in hiring laws have made it quite clear that the government is more interested in the color of skin, not the content of character. The members of the Rainbow Coalition, whose leader was once a follower of King, demands that we judge people by the color of their skin and not the content of their character. In fact, if you are of good character anymore, that is a certain way to prevent yourself from getting a job. Even now it seems that a black man of good character is probably going to lose to a white woman of bad character. I have already addressed the fact that when it comes to true diversity -- diversity in ideas -- the GOP field has far more diversity than does the DNC field. Liberals especially in this country don't care at all about character; what matters to them is your skin color, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

"I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."

Still waiting . . . Segregated lunch room tables -- self-segregated lunch room tables -- makes our children holding hands difficult at best. When you have black children being accused of "acting white" or "acting Asian" if they're smart, study, go to college, or have white or Asian friends; when you have Hispanics being called "coconuts" for studying and going to college and having white friends; when you have white kids being accused of "acting black" if they like black music or have black friends -- then you have a hard time still seeing each other as brothers and sisters.

"I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.""

This is an egalitarian dream -- and this is the part that is least likely to occur, being impossible. Communism doesn't work. You can have government-forced egalitarianism or freedom, but you can't have both. Beauty is found in contrasts. The Yosemite Valley is incredibly beautiful, with its mountains and valleys and crooked places. A perfectly flat plain, where everything is straight and there are no contrasts, becomes dull and monotonous and ugly after a while. A lovely piece of rhetoric, this -- but this is the one place where the dream could lead (and historically has led) to a nightmare. So let us leave this last bit to the dustbin of history, where it belongs, and concentrate more on overcoming our governments' attempts to subvert, in the name of King's dream, the very dream he tried to realize.
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