His famous "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington in 1964 is probably the most telling example of what he believed. For he was looking for a society which judged people by their character and not the color of the skin, knowing that such a society would be key in future prosperity and peace in America. It was a message based upon his Christian faith, for he wanted mankind to live together in love not hate, but he also sometimes knew that applying nonviolent pressure was a method that could sometimes be most effective in bringing the truth out in the open for all to see. His tactic was using the truth to make his point and I think he would be highly appalled at the approach of political correctness that today we find ourselves beholden to. Dr. King knew that only the truth can truly set you free, for it requires all of us to look at life both openly and honestly.
So his life is one which played a major role in society's maturation, yet it sadly became coopted over time by others who instead chose to use it for their own personal gain and power. Since his untimely death by assassination in 1968, many other individuals have come forward in his name, some for the good and others for less positive reasons. But I think if we look back at Dr. King's work and writings, we can clearly identify the goals that he sought.
He wanted Americans to love one another in the Spirit of Jesus Christ and work together for a better society offering opportunity for all. He didn't want or approve of violence in the street; he wanted people to come together out of the goodness of their heart and he felt they would once they were fully aware of the circumstances of the time. He didn't seek a handout for American blacks, just a hand up, a jump start toward attainment of the American dream.
So what would Dr. King think of what happened to his movement if he were alive today? Well, I think he would disapprove vigorously of the approaches taken by men like Al Sharpton who seem to foment more hate and violence wherever they go, largely to amass personal gain from the strife they create. I think he would similarly disapprove of the clear bias applied by the President and his Attorney General, a bias which has done much to further divide America. And I don't think he would approve of some of the legislation that has created a permanent poverty class of welfare and public substandard housing instead of an opportunity for his people to escape from the chains of government into an open and free economic society where they could be rewarded well for what they can achieve.
So we remember the memory of Dr. King and his hard work and let's try to use his example to refocus our efforts to go forward with actions that work, not those that are counter-productive or just waste money. We have spent nearly twenty-two trillion dollars on the War on Poverty, Lyndon Johnson's answer to some of the problems that Dr. King recognized and sadly we are no better off today than we were back then. Many still suffer under a stifling and immovable bureaucracy. I think that Dr. King would have been the first to say that the results attained have not been what he would have had in mind.
So here's to Dr. King, an American of faith with high spirit and a goal of a better life for all Americans. Let's keep working on his dream. Let's revisit our efforts and find ways to overcome the new obstacles we face.