I Have a Dream, Too
In 1963 Martin Luther King gave his famous “I have a dream” speech. We all remember the charismatic description of his dream. He summarized it as follows:
“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
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.’”
Many of us in this wonderful nation shared that dream with him at the time and continue to share it today – independent of the color our skin. That is why, my friends, there have been such huge changes in this nation; changes rarely experienced by any society in such a short time without overwhelming violence.
We can argue whether or not we have achieved Dr. King’s dream. We can argue whether the dream is even achievable in this fallen world populated by such fallen men.
Nevertheless, it is a dream every individual must pursue with all his energy because the dream cannot be legislated; it cannot be dictated; it cannot be enforced. It must come from within the heart of each and every American. Only if each of us treats every other individual with personal respect, personal dignity, and personal love can that dream be achieved. Not as part of a group – be that black, white, Jew, homosexual, Christian, whatever – but as an individually unique creation of God worthy of our personal respect, worthy of personal dignity, worthy of our personal love. Only then can we achieve Dr. King’s dream.
Dr. King’s “Other” Dream
Which brings me to another dream that Martin Luther King described in that famous speech. This is what he stated:
“I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, 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.”
How many are familiar with that dream of his? How many recognize what that dream describes? It is nothing less than the dream of a nation filled with genuine Christian believers. It is a nation dedicated to the glory of the Lord, Christ Jesus himself. (He was a Baptist preacher, after all.)
It is the dream for a nation whose foundation is the rock of truth, whose way is the road of justice, and whose light is the strength of the Lord. It is a nation we are quickly losing, yet it is the only way to truly achieve Dr. King’s dream.
Dr. King stopped his first dream mid-sentence. Perhaps he should have finished the thought, as stated in the Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
So I have a dream, too. I have a dream that we Americans will all be equal in each other’s eyes just as we are equal in the Lord’s eyes. I have a dream we’ll accept that self-evident truth, as well as the self-evident truth that its source is our Judeo-Christian heritage, and that the source of our strength and success comes not from ourselves but from the Lord God, our Creator. Then, and only then, will we achieve Dr. King’s real dream of equality for all.
My dream demands a personal commitment from each of us. Have we done all we could? Absolutely not. Consequently I have a dream that all Americans accept that truth and try to do better in the future.
Dr. King’s Warning
But Dr. King didn’t stop there. He warned us of dangers ahead. How many of us remember or have even heard that warning of his? Probably very few. Yet it would pay this nation well to heed his warning and study it closely, especially the second paragraph. He said:
“There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm 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.”
The first paragraph has been effectively fulfilled. We now have a black President. I would say that situation definitely qualifies as a fulfilled “citizenship right,” especially in light of the fact that there are many other “minorities” who have not yet achieved that high office. We as a nation have indeed made huge progress since 1963 and we should rejoice in that progress. But we have not yet achieved our dreams to perfection, for there can be no perfection this side of Heaven.
So I have a dream, too. My dream is that this country will be truly colorblind as described in our Declaration of Independence. My dream is that we will judge people on their actions and accomplishments, not on their group, not on the color of their skin, not on their class, not on their economic status, not on their background, not on their parents’ sins. My dream is that everyone will have equal opportunity for justice, freedom, and success limited only by each individual’s personal effort and gifting.
My dream is that we will not assign favored treatment to one political group over another for whatever reason; that all the full benefits of this society will be available equally to all members of society without favoritism or bias.
My dream is that government will not intrude into my life and prevent me from achieving my dreams – or at least keep me from trying. My personal success, after all, is never guaranteed and it certainly isn’t the government’s responsibility.
My dream is that the government will encourage me to stand on my own two feet; that it will not penalize me for sins I did not commit, for sins my father did not commit, or sins my grandfather did not commit. My dream is for true justice and freedom.
My dream is that no one will cynically exploit personal tragedy for political gain, that our leaders and our government will encourage personal independence, freedom, responsibility, and diligence over dependence, laziness, servitude, and a life filled with excuses.
My dream is that our leaders and government will pursue and encourage all that is good, righteous, and noble; that they will shun and discourage all that is evil, cynical, and hypocritical.
My dream is that the dream of our founders continues to thrive, that we retain government of the people, by the people for the people instead of turning everything upside down, making people the servants of government. My dream is that each of us accept and shoulder our God given responsibilities.
My dream is that each of us will pursue truth incessantly, passionately, and patiently; that each of us will carefully weigh the evidence and not jump to conclusions; that each of us will allow for the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise; that each of us will not be blinded by appearances, but seek the substance of truth. My dream is that we always treat each other with personal respect, personal dignity, and personal love. Always and always.
I also have a nightmare. My nightmare is that we will be misled into the valley of bitterness described by Dr. King in his second paragraph. My nightmare is that we will be led astray by those who seek personal gain through feigning to satisfy the thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
My nightmare is that we will lose this country to cynical demagogues and charlatans because we didn’t pursue truth with diligence. My nightmare is that these demagogues and charlatans will whip up such a national frenzy that the nation will experience a bloodbath the likes of which we have not seen. My nightmare is that our children and grandchildren will be saddled with the horrors of tyranny many experienced under Communism; that they will have neither freedom nor hope of freedom.
My nightmare is that our generation will have squandered the freedoms and values for which our forefathers spilled their precious blood. My nightmare is carrying the guilt of such a massive failure for my generation. What a guilt!
Unfortunately there can be no middle ground: We will create either a dream or a nightmare. Which will it be? Let’s see.
If I had planned to develop a test scenario, I couldn’t have come up with two better, similar, essentially concurrent test cases. One case, the Trayvon Martin case, was purportedly a white man killing a black man. Shortly thereafter there was another killing in another state: John Sanderson was shot in his dorm in Mississipi. The victim in the second case was white and the suspects were several black men.
The media and national leaders should have treated both cases the same as any other murder, independent of skin color. They should have allowed the justice system to do its work and then reported the results. But that didn’t happen. So I fear media bias is driving this nation toward my nightmare, not my dream.
Trayvon Martin Case
Motive and situation seem irrelevant in the Trayvon Martin case. Media judgment was passed before the body had even cooled off. All that seemed to matter is the color of the victim’s skin. The case has been distorted, inflated, and inflamed by the mainstream national news media.
Needless the say even the President got involved, as did many politicians. They have turned a personal tragedy into a tragi-comedy of national racial hysteria. They even coined a new racial category for the suspect who was of Hispanic origin: “White-hispanic” just so we could satisfy the need for a white on black killing. The evidence, by the way, appears to be pointing to a situation of self-defense killing – but that is apparently irrelevant.
What is even more shameful is that the New Black Panthers have placed a bounty on the head of the suspect even before the facts were known. Isn’t it a crime to incite others to violence? Should the New Black Panthers not be held accountable for their words and actions? Are they now above the law, as the KKK once was?
But what does truth have to do with it? Justice? What’s that? Let’s go lynching!
I will not provide links for this case since it has been virtually impossible to escape the hysterical media barrage associated with it. A quick search yielded 733,000,000 hits.
John Sanderson Case
This case caused nary a blip on the national news scene. One has to make a concerted search to even learn details of the event. Furthermore, mainline news media accounts intentionally omit any references to race, keep the article to a minimum length, and regularly urge caution about jumping to conclusions because all the facts aren’t yet in.
None of the individuals screaming for lynching to satisfy Trayvon Martin’s death have said a single word about this case; though the killing appears to be unprovoked. Certainly no information has been released to indicate otherwise.
What a contrast between the way the media and politicians handled the Trayvon Martin case and the John Sanderson case! I wish both had been presented the way the John Sanderson case was presented: Carefully, truthfully, factually, and in due course. No hyperbole, no posturing, no inflammatory rhetoric. That was Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream, and that is my dream as well.
I wish it were more than a dream…
I will provide references for the John Sanderson case because they are not easy to locate. Compare them with the coverage for the Trayvon Martin case and see if you can see a developing pattern.
Mainstream national media
© 2012 notasitlooks