"When thou wakest, it is thy dear:/ Wake when some vile thing is near." Act 2, Scene 2, lines 33-34 A Midnight Summer Night's Dream -- William Shakespeare
"When the architects of our Republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir, this note was a promise that all men yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Martin Luther King Jr. August 28, 1963
These words were uttered by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on that hot day in August 1963 to the throngs of thousands who marched on Washington and gathered at the Lincoln Memorial filled with hope and anticipation. They gathered surrounding the Monument and the Capitol, some having come thousands of miles, at the feet of the man that emancipated the slaves some years earlier.
Famously known as the "I Have a Dream Speech," it embodied King's hope for social justice, equality, economic parity, and peace. The location was purposeful and the speaker was purposeful in his intent. He spoke at the feet of Lincoln of his dream steeped in his faith and in his belief in the U.S. Constitution.
Now, turn the clock forty some years ahead and thousands and thousands more, including the children of those 1963 marchers, are gathered in that same spot as King to watch the inauguration of the first African American President of the United States of America, Barack Hussein Obama. It was cold that day in January contrary to that hot August day, but the dream was alive and it kept us warm! And they came as King predicted, black men as well as white men, they came in droves with their hearts on their sleeves. And they were self-congratulatory too, about how far they had marched from 1963 to that day.
But, as in an Oberonian like dream interference sequence, forces soon emerged, (before the president was in office one year even), to try to derail him and seemingly the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Barack Obama, the manifestation of King's dream, was called a racist -- attempts to re-write history; to associate him with an economy he did not cause, wars he did not start and so on. It was and is relentless.
One of the greatest dream killers has been radio and television personality Glenn Beck who leads the charge in calling this presidential legacy of the dream a racist, along with various other terms -- and he continues to do so using his radio/television show as a bully pulpit to further the Republican agenda and calling for action that is the antithesis of King's "Dream." On calling President Obama racist, Beck said August 30 to Fox News correspondent Chris Wallace:
Chris Wallace: "Do you regret having called [Obama] a racist and saying he had a deep seated hatred for white people?"
Beck: "Of course I do. I don't want to retract the, um ... I want to amend that I think it is much more of a theological question, that he is a guy who understands the world through liberation theology, which is oppressor-and-victim."
Clearly, Beck rejects all that King stood for and all that President Obama has tried to do in particular seeing the government as an agent for social change. For example, compare the below:
Beck vs. MLK on the role of government in fighting poverty:
BECK : "President Obama is "addicting this country to heroin -- the heroin that is government slavery."
KING: "We will place the problems of the poor at the seat of government of the wealthiest nation in the history of mankind."
Yet, brazenly, on Saturday August 28, on the 47th anniversary of the historic march and "I Have a Dream" speech, Beck chose to speak in King's shadow and to hold a rally/religious tent revival in the same spot on the Lincoln Memorial. Like Elmer Gantry he preached to his throngs about religion and attempted to leave the appearance that he was King like, despite the fact that he has gone out of his way to destroy the very president who represents the fulfillment of King's dream.
But like Oberon in a Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare -- Beck's dream interference is simply that -- an interference. He cannot stop the dream and he cannot stop the dreamers,the American people and their hope for the first African American President Barack Obama and for America. As stated by one reporter, " Beck will be a smeary stain in history next to King." And I add -- next to President Barack Obama.
Note: Thanks to HP poster for providing the contrast between Beck and King on the issue of poverty.