01/15/2013 11:40 am ET Updated Mar 17, 2013

Dr. King's Dream a Work in Progress

This year, Martin Luther King's birthday has a special feel about it

For one thing, this year is also the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. And his words still inspire the hope that one day all people will be judged "not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

Progress continues to be made toward that end, but at present, Dr. King's dream is still a work in progress. Colin Powell reminded Americans of that on Meet the Press this Sunday, when he said that there remains "a dark vein of intolerance."

The former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was referring to some people within the GOP, but lingering intolerance exists everywhere without regard to political party.

Still, this birthday -- actually Tuesday, but celebrated next Monday as a national holiday -- provides proof of progress and reason to hope; for on that day set aside to honor Martin Luther King, we will inaugurate for a second term an African-American President.