Thought I'd put something up that fits with the last day of Black History Month. Tomorrow also starts the season of Lent. Somehow, these words seem to fit like a span to bridge the two. Hope yours is going to be one of dreams contemplated and prayer for a more peaceful world, internal as well as external.
(from the Fall of 2004)
With all due respect to Dr. Martin Luther King, whom I admire as one of the most influential people of the 20th century, I would like to present my own set of dreams for consideration. I in no way claim the position he held as a purveyor of peace and justice. I am simply a citizen of the U.S.A. But I feel, as he must have, seriously unrepresented by the major political parties of our country. During every campaign, I see again and again that I can’t call myself Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative. There is certainly something in each party that I like, but there is also enough about each that I cannot tolerate. And I am fairly sure that there are a lot of us out here who feel this way.
So it is with this in mind that I say...........
I have a dream. That unborn life will once again become the foremost right, by virtue of the eventual overturning of that misguided and ill-fated decision, Roe vs. Wade. The abomination of abortion has been like an open sore on the soul and psyche of our nation for far too long. No people can claim to be operating “under God”, and have this practice seen as legal. We have a stain on our collective soul for this dark period in our history. I am not so naive to think that abortions will end completely, but I can dream that they will. And I can’t help but dream that with this change would come a healing, and a new focus. Not to mention the blessing of God returning to our country.
I have a dream. That people who are truly in need, like single mothers with young children, developmentally and emotionally disabled people, and poor and elderly citizens will get the support, care and assistance they require, simply by virtue of their need. Every day we see this program being cut and that budget being slashed when it comes to taking care of the people who can least take care of themselves. We have always been a government of the people. All the people. And not just those who contribute to the GNP.
I have a dream. That as our domestic economic policy continues to offer incentives to business, it also continues to recognize the rights of people to organize and bargain. Having been on both sides of this labor fence, I know that the job of management is to get the most out of the work force at the least cost, and that the role of the union is to protect the rights of the worker for a fair wage and safe conditions. I have always hated the switch from the term “personnel” to “human resources.” Somehow it put the working man and woman on the same plane as a box of nails. The dignity of the worker has been diminished. It seems that recent years have seen a decline in the influence of the union. History has shown that without an advocate, workers lose. A strong union presence is essential to an equitable free enterprise system. There is no reason this cannot always be a win-win proposition.
I have still another dream. That we will continue to be the greatest power in the free world, but still remember that we can’t always save that world. World terror has changed the face and focus of our lives forever. We cannot afford to be isolationist in an ever-shrinking world. But neither can we always solve everyone’s problems. It is true we have always been the guys who cared. Sent money, food, medical supplies, troops. But this hasn’t always worked out the way we wanted. Take a look at Africa. Or Korea. Or Vietnam. And as much as the recent historic elections in Iraq have made any right-thinking American stand in awe at the courage of the Iraqi people, the jury is still out on that venture. There is the feeling that, even if sometimes we really do need to save the world, maybe somebody else needs to step up once in a while, too. Freedom does not come cheap, I know, but why is it always our guys who pay the greatest price?
Speaking of dreams, what has become of Dr. King’s? In the 40 or so years since his famous speech, can it be said that progress has been made? I’d have to give this a qualified “yes”. More and more, people are being judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. My kids have gone to school with and played with kids of other races. A lot of blood, sweat and tons of tears have brought about the laws that have helped this to come about, but I believe hearts are changing as well. In our own St. Louis region, we have growing, diverse cultures. Our people are not free of prejudice, but it is a “work in progress.” That in itself is partial fulfillment of King’s dream, voiced decades ago.
It has been said to never let go of your dreams. Langston Hughes wrote that a dream deferred can dry up “like a raisin in the sun.” So I’d like to thank Dr. King for his dreaming, and for his call to “let freedom ring” in this great country of ours.
I just hope that someday I can hear that ring come from a national party that represents my dreams, rather than perrenially get stuck picking and choosing from the menu offered by the two biggest players at the table.
Now that would be a dream fulfilled.