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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

History In The Making

Yesterday we in the United States of America celebrated the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. We honor this leader of civil rights who helped change the direction of our country and race relations within it. He was a wise man who deserves honor and respect, and we should remember his words. As much as he thought he would accomplish, I'm not sure if he could have truly believed today would happen. Today we inaugurated the first president of black descent.

"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood. "
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Regardless of our personal political beliefs, we should step back and recognize what we as a nation and a culture have accomplished. Though we still have racial tensions, we have put many of them aside, and have matured enough that we can elect someone of a race that was once enslaved and discriminated against. This is truly remarkable, and I am glad to see that our country has grown to the point where this can happen.

"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. "
Martin Luther King, Jr.

However, I think that the pendulum has started swinging in the other direction. Can we truly say that the Reverend King's dream of a color-blind society has been reached? All I seem to hear about lately is related to Barack Obama's skin. Now, it should be celebrated that we have stepped beyond race in our choices for a national leader. However, we shouldn't get so caught up in Obama's color that we ignore the man inside that skin. Obama isn't the messiah or the savior of the country. He is a man, and is as fallible as any other man. We will see what happens in the coming months and years, and see what the content of his character really is.

"Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

However, now is not the time to dwell on differences. As a country we need to put our issues aside, and try to come together to face some very serious challenges. There is a lot of work that needs to be done and it will take all of us to get there. I know that we will still have disagreements on how to reach that goal, but for now we have the potential of a new start where we can blaze a new path. Democrats and Republicans must both stop hating each other, former President Bush, and incoming President Obama.

"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am proud of our country for the fact that we have elected a man that just over 40 years ago would not have been allowed in some restaurants and would have had to drink at a different public fountain than I would. That is a great accomplishment. But acknowledging our development as a nation does not mean that I have to agree with the policies and ideals of Obama. I do have some serious reservations and concerns about some of his goals and policies. I disagree with him in many areas, and did not vote for him. But my opinions have nothing to do with the color of his skin, but rather the content of his character. If he surprises me, none will be happier than myself. Let's see where we are this time next year, and see if anyone's opinions have changed, and if the seeming cult of personality has died down.