After all of the fussing over the Glenn Beck “Restoring Honor” rally “stealing”, or “hijacking” the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., message, I read Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. What I saw in the speech surprised me. I have heard it several times, but by no means did I ever memorize it. A sentence or two stuck with me, but nothing close to the whole thing. Thus, reading it was something that would serve me well. A good idea and it was very interesting.
In that speech – whose message and idea were no more “hijacked” by Glenn Beck than the Lincoln Memorial was that day – I see that Glenn Beck was actually fulfilling that speech and Al Sharpton, et al, have no right to complain about it.
For instance, in his speech, Dr. King – who stood at the Lincoln Memorial but in a different spot than Beck – said this, “the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.” While there is no guarantee that former slaves and former slave holders were there or that if they were there, that they were together, there were both black and white at the rally and there was peace and brotherhood at the Restoring Honor rally.
Dr. King’s dream included the, “state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.” Mississippi is just that, as is the rest of America. And his dream included his “four little children” being judged “by the content of their character”, not the color of their skin. I think his four little children have been judged thusly. As has his niece, Dr. Alveda King, who spoke of her “Uncle Martin” at the Beck rally. Her character is impeccable and her voice for the Lord is loud and strong. “[I]n Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” This has come true, as well; not just holding hands, but “mixed” marriages also have become accepted as a normal thing, instead of a shock and scandal, a shame to both families.
Dr. King’s dream, however, did not include government housing being a standard freebie for every person of color who wanted to sit idly at home and do nothing but watch soap operas or talk on their welfare check purchased cell phone. It did not include “free” health care for all because it is never “free” and someone will have to pay for it; that someone being those who do work and pay their taxes. Dr. King’s dream never mentioned food stamps, a “right” to a job, legalized drugs like crack cocaine or marijuana. Dr. King’s dream had none of the “give it to me, I want it” in it that permeates the Al Sharptons of this world.
Dr. King’s dream spoke of one thing: Freedom. Not freedom from want, freedom from envy, freedom from someone else having more, better, bigger, easier than you; freedom to strive and work for what it is that someone else has that you desire. Dr. King’s dream never said you would be given it because you deserve it – after all, you had it bad, your dad had a tough road, your great-grandfather was a slave so now you deserve everything you want and you deserve to have it given to you by the sweat of someone else’s brow. Freedom is none of that. Freedom is the right to work hard and make your own way and to keep the results of your labor, or to decide for yourself what to do with those results. That is freedom.
The right to work is not the same as a right to a job. The right to work means that you have the right – as a citizen of the United States of America – to try to get a job and to be paid equally for that job as someone else with the same qualifications, same experience, same education and same level of expertise. You have that right. If you have those criteria met and you and I are going up for the same position, you do not have the right to get the job because of the color of your skin, but you do have the right to get the job if you have worked harder than I, put in longer hours than I, learned more about the position we both want, than I know. That’s the same criteria used for me getting the position as well, though, so if I get the job, I deserved it; not the color of my skin deserved it. Thus, you have no “right” to a job, but you do have the right to work. No one should interfere with you trying to be hired somewhere at a job you are qualified to do. Just as no one should interfere with me being hired somewhere for a job I am qualified to do. The key word there being “qualified”: whoever is most qualified should get the job and skin color should be ignored.
For someone to say that it is their “right” to government housing, welfare, food stamps, health care, or any other thing besides the right – true right, not made up right – to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” is just a lie. It means nothing legally and it should never have happened morally. Admittedly, America’s past did include racism and slavery; mostly due to the Democratic Party, but it was there. But does that past – and it is the past – give anyone the “right” to anything from those who had no part in that past? Do you pay for your grandfather’s sins, or just your own? Should you be jailed for your brother’s illegal activities, or just your own?
For anyone to claim “right” to what I have now because of someone else’s sins, is not just unfair, it is purely immoral. I had no part in slavery or in the racism of the sixties and earlier. I was not old enough to be part of either of those things, and my ancestors immigrated to America long after slavery was over, so my family had no part in that, either. Should I have to pay for the things that other people did when my family had no part whatsoever in the wrongs done by others? If so, is that not just another form of racism?
For Al Sharpton and the rally he led “reclaiming Dr. King’s message” was not just a falsehood, it was probably making Dr. King roll over in his grave. Considering the messages I heard when I watched the two hours or more of the Sharpton rally that I was able to stomach, I saw speakers demand that they be “given” this, they “deserve” that, I truly doubt they had read Dr. King’s famous words in light of how Dr. King meant them, instead of just trying to change the speech to their best advantage. They forgot the line, “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.” And they left out, “We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.” They ignore his statement, “Let us not wallow in the valley of despair” and to that “despair” they add anger, resentment, envy, self-righteousness, a feeling of “being owed”, the demand of “give it to me and give it to me now!”
Sharpton’s event was not of the same kind as Dr. King would have had. Sharpton preached all that King decried. Sharpton wants those who follow him to be in that place Dr. King did not want people: kept down by their own desire to have it handed to them instead of paying for it with the money earned from their own labor, kept enslaved by their own desire to make someone else “pay” – both in monetary payments and in societal retribution – for their own lack, ignoring the fact that their lack was their own doing, not someone else’s fault.
Sharpton, et al, don’t want their followers to realize that the dream Dr. King spoke so eloquently of is already theirs. If that were not the case, how could there be have been U.S. Supreme Court Justices who were black, a president who is black, U.S. Senators and Congresspersons of color, millionaires in America who are descendants of slaves? If the dream is not already given, how is there a black television network, black advertising agencies, or black owners of a hair product line for black people; how is Don King rich1? If the dream is not accomplished, if everyone does not have the equal right and equal chance to work hard, to seek their own legal path (illegal paths to riches are not part of the dream), then how are the accomplishments of so many black people explained away?
“Uncle Tom” will be cried; but it’s a false cry and they know it. It’s a convenient pejorative and nothing more. It helps keep black people “in their place” to have another black call them that. It’s a signal, “You better not step out of line, mister. You know we don’t want you doing that because it makes us look bad!” It’s not about the accomplishments of the achiever; it’s about the laziness and excuses of the non-achiever. It’s a slaver’s cry to trap someone who could achieve if given the support needed into the “Uncle Tom” crier’s own level of “under-achievement”. It is a leveler: none can do better than this because if one does, then we all can and we all don’t want to so you better not.
That false cry is their own jailer, their own limiter as are Sharpton and his words and demands. If the government and the people don’t do “X” for the black people, then it won’t get done because – according to Sharpton’s words – they can’t do it for themselves. Does this sound anything at all like the “I Have A Dream” speech of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., or does it sound like someone seeking to keep others down so he can be considered their spokesperson, helper, saint, rescuer? Sharpton no more wants people of his race to be capable achievers than he wants to be a nobody, ignored, overlooked, forgotten and that is why he must keep the lies going, the false accusations flowing, the hatred, despair and envy spewing from every mouth at every rally he leads, attends or feeds. It is not a “Dream” Sharpton has for the success and freedom of his people it is his worst nightmare for then he becomes nothing and vanishes into the dust from whence he came.
Sharpton and his ilk do not want people to realize that Dr. King’s dream has already been handed to them. Today they have the dream as Dr. King envisioned it. All they have to do is reach out and take it, pick it up. It’s that big, beautifully wrapped present over there. Go over and pick it up and see your name on it. Realize that with that present in hand you can do anything legal in America you dream of – go to school and get the education you desire, work at the job you are qualified to work at, save for your own retirement and pay your own way and live the life you want instead of watching and hating as others live the life you desire – as long as you believe in that dream and accept it for yourself. You see, there’s the rub. You must accept that dream for yourself, and no one else can do it for you.
That’s why those like Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and others will never tell you that the dream is already yours. They know that if you realize it, they will not be able to milk you for support – financial and political– for their own ideas, their own desire for the dream. Look at them, though, aren’t they living the dream while telling you that it isn’t available at all? Sharpton himself wears expensive suits, lives in an expensive house, flies all over the country and attends “the best” parties. If he’s living the dream while preaching that America has not yet delivered it, then who is he lying to? Considering that the answer to that question is “You”, don’t you think you need to sit down and figure out what the truth is?