They Have No Dream
The third Monday of January has been declared to be a day to honor the memory and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Yet, as I watched, listened to, or read about various MLK Day speeches from around the country, I could not help thinking- how they dishonor him, his memory, and his life's work. The worst example of dishonoring Dr. King in my eyes was Senator Hillary Clinton speaking at a gathering in one of Harlem's black churches. In her speech Mrs. Clinton compared the U.S. Congress to a plantation. How dare her!! Beside her ludicrous statement, that “Congress is like a Plantation because dissenting voices are squelched," the mere fact that a white woman of privilege, and a member of a fraternity of privilege would compare that fraternity to a slave working on a plantation is an insult. If voices are squelched Senator, how on earth are you standing there in all of your pomp freely speaking these things? Let's see, lynching, castration, flogging, tar and feathering, on a plantation in the anti-bellum South on the one hand, and getting paid a six figure salary and delivering speeches before cameras in New York City on the other, I can see where she might think the two are the same.
As offensive as Senator Clinton's words are, even more offensive is the fact that there are those in the black community who would invite and allow her to advance her personal political agenda in this way and on this occasion. What has happened to black leadership? Are they so emasculated that they now a need white women to tell us what to think? And on the day honoring a black, male hero? Are there no black voices, especially male voices, to give us hope, to give us vision?
Let me also share with you about a website I was referred to by an acquaintance who actually thought this was a fitting site to honor MLK Day. The name of the web site is, Remembering Segregation. I assume that this site feels it is honoring Dr. King's memory by reminding us of segregation and telling us that things are no better today. What the site seems to have forgotten is that the most famous speech made by Dr. King spoke of "a Dream." I guess they have either forgotten or have never known what a dream is.
There are two types of people in the world. There are those who remain stuck in the past who will never catch a vision for the future. These people will be the easily manipulated and remain enslaved by fear, hatred, and ignorance until they and their posterity are rendered completely disabled mentally and spiritually. This is not "the Dream" Dr. King spoke of, it is a nightmare. Then there are those who with great vision and faith are too busy seeing what can be reality, and too busy believing what one day will be reality, to be held back by what has been and may still be the case. These individuals work tirelessly, believing that the best way to improve the lot of their people is found in improving their individual lot in life. They pass this vision, passion and work ethic on to their posterity. This is what a real dream is; something that is not yet reality, but that we believe one day will be.
Dr. King did not ask us to remember slavery, or the old days of brutal oppression. He asked us to hope, dream and to work for a better nation. His idea of this dream and his view from the mountain top came from his reading of another great leader of an oppressed race of people. Moses stood on a mountain top looking into a distant, promised land as well. That “promised” land was occupied by others who were opposed to his people, and had to be fought for. The taking of that land was hard and many lives were lost in the process, but the dream and their faith kept them fighting for it until they won it.
Such thinking as Senator Clinton's, the web site "Remember Segregation," and others like it fosters, is extremely detrimental to the well being of individuals and to an entire race of people. Let us honor Dr. King and his memory by continuing to dream, to hope, to believe and to work for a better day.
They may have no dream, but I do. Do you?