Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dreams Come True

<= This photo was posted to this Blog on Independence Day 2007.

Who suspected we would witness the inauguration of a black American, Barack Obama, as President less than two years later?

In that posting I quoted President Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Gettysburg Address looking back to the founding of our Nation "Four score and seven years ago ..." and added:

"It is now eleven score and eleven years and our flag still flies proudly. Despite our many problems, we remain the last best hope for the crazy proposition free men and women can govern themselves. We are honored to live in the country with the highest degree of freedom, the widest availability of opportunity, and the greatest prosperity that has ever existed in the history of the world."

One-hundred years after Lincoln, in 1963, Martin Luther King gave his "I have a dream" speech including the memorable "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."

How far we have come! In my own lifetime I personally witnessed "Negroes" required to move to the back of an interstate Greyhound bus as we crossed the Maryland border on the way from New York City to Washington DC. As a child I was appalled by "White Only" and "Colored" toilets in the South.

But, we have not come as far as I would like. We are still far, far, far from "colorblind". All the celebrations this week have focussed on Obama's skin color to a far greater extent than the content of his character.

Of course, we will always notice things like skin tone and eye color and gender and height and so on, but I long for the day when our regard for skin color falls to the level of emphasis we devote to other physical characteristics. Perhaps the historic events of this week will get us closer to MLK's dream come true.

Ira Glickstein


JohnS said...

You are concerned that: “All the celebrations this week have focussed on Obama's skin color to a far greater extent than the content of his character.” I find it exhilarating! We focus on his color because it is a new day! I too, lived when we had black and white bathrooms, black and white drinking fountains, black and white everything and today we have a black man as our president – and without turmoil.
It would be interesting enough if these times were tranquil, but they are not. They are turbulent times, times when we will need strong intelligent leadership and we, as nation, set aside his color and chose Obama to lead us.
We don’t know the “content of his character”. We will only know as he addresses the issues of the day. I believe his color will take a back seat, no pun intended, when he addresses these issues. We then will begin measuring him by his performance. I fervently hope that he becomes one of our outstanding presidents. This is the time, this is his opportunity.

Ira Glickstein said...

Welcome back to the Blog JohnS! I hope you are correct that President Obama's color will fade as an issue as he tackles the problems of our turbulent times. So far, he has made mostly excellent decisions and I have great faith that he is one of the most intelligent Presidents we have had. We will see how far he is dragged to the far left by his life experiences and by the more radical members of his party.

Ira Glickstein