The Dream is No More
It was an overcast, albeit relatively mild August day by Washington D.C. standards, fifty years ago today, as I joined the thousands walking along Constitution Avenue toward the Lincoln Memorial. Many of those in the crowd who had traveled vast distances by busses and cars from all over the nation, but in particular the deep South, had a look of apprehension bordering on fear, not knowing what to expect from the police and those vehemently opposed to unfettered civil rights. Despite the trepidation and regardless of skin color, nationality or faith all were determined to compel the nation to listen to their voices. Little did those of us there understand or appreciate that the 28th day of August 1963 would be historic not only because of the electrifying oration delivered by Martin Luther King but that this singular event would mark the beginning of the end of institutional discrimination and racism in the United States.
I immigrated to America in 1952. At that time this was a segregated country. Discrimination based on race was something I could not understand nor had ever experienced. I lived, once adopted, in a quiet quasi-southern town where I saw firsthand the invidious nature of rank bigotry and racism. My adoptive father managed two movie theatres, one in the white part of town and one in the black. Not long after I joined the family he took me to his office at the whites-only theatre and then to the black theatre. The makeup of the audiences was in stark contrast and I asked, in my broken English, why. My father replied: "That is just the way it is." Not satisfied with his answer I asked why the dark skinned people live on one side of the river and the whites on the other, he said: "That's the way it is in this country, people prefer to live with their own races and not mix, besides it's the law." I replied by stating I thought that was wrong.
I had never viewed or perceived the nature of a person by their skin color. While still in Europe after the War and living on the streets of a completely destroyed city, I was often given food and treated kindly by the black soldiers. I did not view them as being different because of their skin color nor did they view me differently because of mine. Race relations within the United States was something I could never accept.
The issue of civil rights remained at the forefront of my consciousness and on that summer day in August of 1963, while attending Catholic University in Washington D.C., I was one of 200,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial to hear Martin Luther King deliver his "I have a Dream" speech. Over the next five years I participated in voter registration drives, demonstrations, and marches to once and for all put an end to the stain on the American character.
I have, over the years, watched with some degree of pride and accomplishment as doors were opened, barriers torn down, attitudes changed and equality become a growing reality. However on this, the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington, the dream that we all had for the nation on that day in August is evolving into a nightmare not only for the vast majority of Black America but for the nation as a whole.
As with all human endeavors, there have been failures of good intentions. Among the mistakes made was the passage of massive government welfare programs which had the unintended consequence of creating a vast segment of the black population dependent on the largess, consequently destroying the foundation of the family and diminishing the ambition to succeed by one's own effort.
However, the most insidious aspect of all, and one that never occurred to us, was the exploitation of the racial past by those both black and white in order to further their political aims or to amass greater wealth. These purveyors of dissension have deliberately and ceaselessly set out to keep open the wounds of past discrimination and not allow them to heal.
For decades, unscrupulous black leaders have been able to extort money and political power through the tactic of yelling racism whenever an unpleasant incident involved white and black citizens, whether there was racism at play was immaterial. As the charge of racism has been the greatest societal pejorative since the 1960's, most people simply cowered and tacitly admitted guilt allowing the accusation to stand, thus opening the door for the so-called civil rights leaders to repeatedly tell the black population that the reason for the poverty and despair in the inner cities was due solely to never-ending white racism.
Further, this hopelessness could only be mitigated by reparations, more government spending and continuing to vote for the same left-wing politicians who had helped create these conditions in the first place. This has been a deliberate effort to keep resentment alive instead of solving the real problems of these communities mainly: education, economic development and job creation.
However, the most egregious and disgusting actions of all have been by the black and white liberal politicians who have used the "race card" to achieve power and advance their political agenda. They do not care if racial strife is perpetuated nor are they concerned for the well being of the black population except to use them as a pawn in their incessant drive to control the levers of government.
With the election of a far left President determined to transform the country, these race hustlers have now shown their true character by asserting that any criticism of President Obama's agenda is racist in nature. In order to stifle criticism, induce guilt and pass their statist agenda, they claim this is still a racist country -- when in fact they are today's racists.
President Obama, presented with a unique and historic opportunity to stop this ongoing effort to keep racial tensions alive, has instead poured gasoline on the fire at every opportunity. He has allowed his Justice Department to decide policy based on racial factors, such as the Black Panther case in Philadelphia; he has deliberately misused the illegal immigration issue as a racial wedge for potential political gain; and, most egregiously, he exploited the Trayvon Martin case in order to foment and exacerbate racial animosity.
It appears that the President and many in his administration view much of the world and the history of the United States through racially tinted glasses and, in keeping with his indoctrination by Frank Marshall Davis and Saul Alinsky, Mr. Obama is apparently a true-believer in the tenet that change can only come about by premeditated societal upheaval. This approach is increasingly being manifested by an ever growing level of black on white violence.
Today, African-Americans are the most manipulated and abused segment of the American population. Black children are deliberately ill-educated, as the unions and politicians are more concerned with their own welfare than that of the children. The Democratic Party Establishment, content in the knowledge that Black America has been conditioned to vote for their candidates in overwhelming numbers regardless of circumstances, views the vast majority of blacks with condescension and disdain. The entertainment and music industries siphon untold millions from the black community while inundating them with misogynistic, racist and violent lyrics and images. Single parenting, out of wedlock birth and the gang culture is thus glorified leading to disastrous and often deadly consequences.
While accounting for 12% of the American population, blacks account for over 40% of all abortions in the nation and 40% of the total prison population. Further, an astounding 73% of all live black births are out of wedlock and the homicide rate among young black men is 500% higher than that of young white men.
In the 1960's people of all races, some of whom gave their lives, were determined to rid this great country of its most grievous original sin. It was not to give those among us today the opportunity to exploit race as a means to their devious ends. The nation is watching a once proud people who survived slavery and oppression being betrayed by not just their leaders but a government controlled by a man with black skin but no sense of decency or honor.