Does Obama have the same dream?
With everyone having something to say about the recent caucus malfunction, this popped into my mind.
“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.” These were the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Aug. 28, 1963, in a speech at the March on Washington. Less then five years later, at the age of 39, Dr. King was assassinated.
Since then, I think it is fair to say black America has been struggling to find a new leader. With more blacks in prison, poverty levels at record highs, and education performance at record lows, the big thing black America has done over the last 40 years, is rebrand themselves to African-Americans.
Am I being too harsh? I think not. After Dr. King’s death a few tried to wear the crown. The former mayor of Atlanta, Andrew Young, only three years younger than Dr. King looked like a comer, only to fade out. Next came Rev. Jesse Jackson, a disciple of Dr. King. While he accomplished some things, including running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988, he never could quite wear the crown of Dr. King.
When I think of Reverend Jackson, I think of the rhyme in his rhetoric, a precursor for hip-hop, instead of the leader he might have been. When Jackson started losing his momentum, another reverend, Al Sharpton, emerged. Over time he appealed to those who felt helpless, those in fear of white America. A consistent guest on Fox News shows, Reverend Al seems more like P.T. Barnum, then the leader needed to move forward.
During this time period, celebrities like Bill Cosby, and more recently Oprah Winfrey, have tried to guide and inspire. What I always have found odd is how little most sports and entertainment celebrities speak out. With the forum and power they have to influence the youth of America, it seems obvious to me that an organized and united voice could make a significant difference.
But, isn’t that the real problem? United behind whom? What black America has needed, and still needs since the death of Dr. King is leadership, not a new brand. And now, along comes Barack Obama. A new name in the mix, but this time there is a difference. Presidential candidate Obama seems to be more concerned with helping people in need then promoting himself. Can he overcome the Clinton machine? Only time will tell.
The real question is why has it taken so long for someone like Barack to come along? It is a question I can’t answer. But, if Obama does fall short in his presidential bid, he still will have the opportunity to take up where Martin Luther King left off 40 years ago ” now, that would be something.
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