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Monday, January 18, 2010

Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.: Remembering The Dream

As I sit here this wonderfully brisk Monday morning, I am reflecting on a dream, a dream of liberty and freedom. I’m seeing a world where all of mankind is free from tyranny and oppression. I’m seeing a world where hate is considered a wasted effort, and has been replaced with joy and kindness. I see a world where all men are able to reach their fullest potential, where they are free to reach their highest goals.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, 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."

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 a table of brotherhood.

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

I have a dream that my four 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.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

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.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

That speech, those glorious words, were spoken by Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963.

As we reflect on the words of one of the great spiritual and moral leaders our nation has ever known, many emotions overcome us. Dr King speaks about the basics of humanity, the desires of all men to be free, to exercise the natural rights they are given by their creator.

In Dr King’s world, the color of a man’s skin would have no bearing on how he fits into society. In Dr King’s world, it is the content of a man’s character that determines his station in life. It is the content of a man’s character says it all.

It is a glorious dream.

But it is still just a dream.

In the world we live in today, 47 years after Dr King gave what is one of the most important speeches in the history of this great nation, there are still men who are not free. Tyranny and oppression only grows with each passing day and certain factions have used the color of a man’s skin to control all. To intimidate those who would rather speak of character, of honor, and of righteousness.

Sadly, when the world lost Dr King to the assassin’s bullet, we lost one of our true leaders. A man who understood how civil society should work, how it must work, to survive and to flourish.

We have seen the very oppressors that Dr King sought to defeat co-opt his movement and claim his banner as their own. These oppressors have used deceit and trickery to not only keep those who were down in their place, but to add to their ranks.

We have seen a great evil take hold of this nation. We now have those who seek to divide us, to pit the races and the sexes against one another, in the name of Dr King, and others, in order to gain power and control.

These men of low character know that a nation divided is a nation conquered. As long as they can foment discontent, and work to prevent racial harmony, they will always remain in power.

Much better that we fight each other than to rise up as one against this great evil.

As I reflect on Dr King’s words, his dreams, I am moved to tears as I see a world that could have been. A world of great prosperity and happiness for all who aspire to it. A world where each and every man, woman, and child knows that they have no roadblocks to reaching their full potential.

I see a world where every man woman and child has the opportunity to shine.

This is a world where, instead of worrying about equal results, an impossible goal, we make sure there is equal opportunity. In this world we understand that we cannot guarantee outcome, equal results, but we can guarantee that every man, woman, and child starts in the same place, and has no artificial barriers placed in front of them.

In this world we understand that we cannot re-distribute talent, we cannot re-distribute efforts or results. And me most assuredly MUST not re-distribute wealth, as this is an idea that only shares equal misery, not equal success.

We have a government led by a political party that bases it’s entire being on dividing this nation, on making sure that we fight each other, rather than this government. We have a government that uses the color of their leader’s skin to intimidate, to harass, and yes, to keep divided those who

would, under normal circumstances, eagerly join together, in the common cause of liberty and freedom. Men and women who would eagerly unite to defeat the oppressor.

Liberty and freedom are the innate desires of all mankind. We are given these rights of liberty and freedom by the Almighty God in the heavens. They belong to no man, no government, and no man, or no government has the authority to take those rights away.

As we reflect on the man, the leader, it is imperative that we take up Dr King’s cause, the cause that is righteous. It is imperative that we look past the race baiters and the race hustlers. We must look past those who seek to divide us and find ways for us all join together in pursuit of the common cause of true liberty and freedom for all.

I truly believe if we can unite and defeat this great evil that grips our nation, to permanently remove those who sow the seeds of artificial discontent for their own gains, America can grow and prosper, and the potential for all mankind will know no bounds. There will be no limits to a man’s successes, except those he places on himself.

We must unite and we must break the chains of oppression. But more importantly, we must then work to make sure that Dr King’s dream comes true. We must create a world where the only judge of a man is his character, where character is a man’s supreme calling card, where character is all that matters.

As we reflect on the life of Dr. King, let us pledge to unite and create this world.

In closing, I’d like to include the thoughts and prayers expressed by another great leader, a leader for our time, as she reflects on the life of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

Celebrating the Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today, America honors the memory of one of our greatest – Martin Luther King, Jr. He used his gifts and talents in selfless, mighty ways to mobilize efforts against racial discrimination and is deserving of our honor.

Please take a moment to tell your children about this great man. He fought for liberty and equality because he knew they were God-given and he knew that no government should be empowered to thwart our freedom. King summarized his mission when stating that no one should be judged based on skin color, but by the content of one's character.

Seeming to have a foreboding notion of how quickly life passes, he did not waste time on pettiness. He believed that "the quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important."

May our children follow in the footsteps of giants like King, who sincerely respected equality.

- Sarah Palin

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." – MLK


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