Friday, August 28, 2009
"I Have a Dream" is arguably the most-eloquent, most-respected, and most-recited speech in American history. Dr. Martin Luther King gave that unforgettable speech forty six years ago today, and forty six years from now people will still be listening attentively to those words that he gave in front of the Lincoln Memorial at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Dr. King was assassinated before I was born, but as I reflect on the man behind the dream, I see someone who carried a message of freedom and justice, though he knew what it was to be called on the carpet for it. I see a man who loved his country and wanted to see her reach her full potential. No, he didn't believe America was perfect, but he loved her nonetheless. It was that great love that caused him to stand up and speak out when others shouted for him to sit down and shut up. He chose to fight the fight because the liberty of American people was on the line.
Dr. King once stated,
Something is happening in our world. The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, whether they are in Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana; New York City; Atlanta, Georgia; Jackson, Mississippi; or Memphis, Tennessee -- the cry is always the same: "We want to be free."
Sounds like today, doesn't it? Sounds like what the masses of Americans are crying out right now--from tea parties, from town halls, from Facebook and Twitter.
I believe Martin Luther King would have gotten Sarah Palin. More than that, I believe he would have had great respect for her. Although they clearly would not have agreed on every point (who does?), Dr. King knew what it was to use his voice to speak up for the country in which he lived. He knew what it was to cry out for freedom to the point of self-sacrifice. And he knew what it was to be a threat to the establishment. He came against the powers-that-be, and he did it with a boldness that was driven by a sense of right. There's just something about being right that emboldens those who believe it's their destiny to declare it.
Like Dr. King, Sarah Palin refuses to be silenced, though the mainstream media is begging for her to be quiet rather than speak up for the freedoms of Americans, freedoms which perhaps have never been so attacked since Dr. King's day.
I remember last year when Michelle Obama spoke at the Democratic National Convention. I must admit that toward the end of her speech, I cried. I did not cry because her speech was so moving or her husband was so promising. Please! I cried when she drew attention to it being the 45th anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. For the first time since the campaigning had begun, I was hit with the awareness that history--to which I was directly related--was in the making, that here was the first Black man to have won the presidential nomination--and I could not vote for him. That realization made me sad in a way I never expected. Now, perhaps you don't understand those emotions, but I just remember what gripped me in that moment. It took 45 years, I thought, and this is the best we could come up with?! It cut me to the heart.
As a Christian, nothing trumps values for me--not race, not gender, nothing. Therefore, I could never have voted for Obama. Shoot--I couldn't even stand to look at him. But I suddenly felt robbed of participating in that moment, and it hurt.
The tears were fleeting. They left as quickly as they came...and the next day Governor Sarah Palin stepped onto the national stage, and I was smiling.
I have never cried those tears again, for I remember the man whose speech we remember today. Dr. King so wisely said,
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.
Translation: There are more important things than race. And while the Left continues to race bait, while they call white conservatives like Sarah Palin "racist" and Black conservatives like me "sell-out," I know Dr. King got it, even forty six years ago, and what's more important, I get it.
Perhaps the American Thinker expressed the difference between Dr. King and President Obama best:
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a perfect example of a true leader, and the antithesis of an Alinskyite community organizer. Dr. King wasn't leading a movement of complete strangers. Nor was he dropped into Atlanta by a gang of professional troublemakers, intent on gaining political power. Dr. King, and his father before him, were echelons of the black, upper-middle-class community in Atlanta. They had lifelong friends in every black community south of the Mason-Dixon. They were so well-known, so utterly respected by all, that when Martin spoke, people - black and white alike - knew there was absolute substance behind his thunderous voice. Even the Democratic Party racists who opposed him, gave him grudging private respect.
King had no need of deceptive Alinsky tactics; he had moral authority steeped in roots going back generations in the same home town.
Such is not at all the case with what Alinsky euphemistically called the "community organizer."
Some may think it's a stretch, but I don't think so: Sarah Palin is more like Dr. King than President Obama, and I believe he would have held her in very high regard. He, like she, was a public servant. He paid the ultimate price for opening his mouth for freedom; he would not shut up because too much was on the line. I see the same spirit in her as she continues to fight the fight for the unborn, health care, energy independence, limited government--for freedom.