If he could see where we are 50 years after his iconic speech.
Now that the well-deserved commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have A Dream” speech is past, everyone seems to have an opinion about what Dr. King would think if he were alive to see the state of his dream today.
It’s a good question, and to answer it, you really have to look at different aspects of society to gauge the results of the past 50 years.
Let’s start with representation at all levels of government. Here it seems beyond dispute that Dr. King would be proud. Black candidates run and get elected in just about every area of the country, and from both parties. And of course, the president of the United States is a black man. Obviously I have some serious disagreements with President Obama’s policies, but the fact that this nation elected a black man to the highest office in the land speaks well of how far we’ve come in 50 years.
I do not think Dr. King would be pleased with the decision of those who organized this commemoration to snub the nation’s only black U.S. Senator, South Carolina’s Tim Scott. Dr. King would love the fact that a black man is representing South Carolina of all states, and would love the fact that he is welcome in the Republican Party.
But that’s a detail. Overall, I am sure Dr. King would like what he sees in terms of governmental representation.
In the corporate sector, I think he would be pleased as well. As I can tell you from my own experience in corporate America over the course of 40 years, the only bias that matters there today is a bias in favor of results. If you can produce results, doors will be open to you. The news media wants you to think otherwise, but they don’t have the slightest idea how businesses work. In many ways, the business world is the leader in getting beyond racial discrimination, and Dr. King would be very happy about that.
In the educational sector, I’m afraid the results are considerably more dismal. We have way too many blacks dropping out of high school. What’s the problem? We have way too many babies being born out of wedlock. What’s the problem? This speaks to cultural trends within the black community that we need to stand up and change. I don’t think Dr. King would be happy with those results.
And as my friend and his niece Dr. Alveda King said yesterday, economically we’ve had some good decades and some down decades over the past 50 years. Now we are experiencing a down decade relative to GDP growth, unemployment, the number of people getting on food stamps. When you look at the economic metrics that allow people to achieve the other aspects of the American dream, the report card isn’t so good. I don’t think Dr. King would be happy to see that.
Finally, I’d like to address something President Obama said yesterday concerning ObamaCare, and whether Dr. King would like it. Of course, the president thinks he would:
“He’d like that because he understood that health security is not a privilege. It’s something everyone in a country this wealthy should have access to.”
But Mr. President, everybody does have access to it, as a responsibility. As he so often does, Obama confuses “access” with “government guarantee.” The government has actually made it harder for people to pay for health care by shackling it to employer-provided insurance, and ObamaCare doubled down on that mistake.
But just because you have a responsibility to out and get something doesn’t mean you lack access to it. Dr. King advocated for minorities to have the same rights as citizens as everyone else, and rightfully so. It was never his vision that blacks or anyone else would rely on government for things they could and should provide for themselves.