What Became of MLK’s Dream?

I had this dream.

And in this dream, I was sitting poolside up in heaven.  And, around this exquisitely beautiful pool were some very, very happy people, some I recognized, many I did not.

One person I definitely recognized, sitting comfortably in his tailor-made lounge chair sipping a very bright, sparkling beverage, was the Reverend Martin Luther King.  His robe was dazzling white (like everybody else's), but it looked like there was a splotch of some kind on the front of it.  I was confused, until the Reverend King stretched out his arm as he replaced the empty beverage glass onto a small table.  The splotch was actually a face.  The face was that of Barack Obama.

You can imagine my surprise.  The Reverend King caught my look, and gave me a look of his own, a little smile.  He got up and turned to leave.  And as he set off, I saw the back of his white robe.  It read:  #NotMyPresident.

Unfortunately, down here on Earth, the dream of Barack Obama as president became an all-too-real nightmare.

I have often thought of the day that Barack Obama got nominated by his party to be the day that the Reverend King began spinning in his grave.  I could imagine him shouting from high above, "Didn't you people listen to me?  I said it was 'content of character,' not 'color of skin' that mattered!"

Bill Clinton certainly grasped what was happening back in the spring of 2008.  Bill made his feelings clear when the Democrats went full throttle for Obama that spring, jettisoning their love for Hillary at the time.  Bill made this apt observation:  "They played the race card on us!"

This utterance barely registered due to the excitement across the nation of this historic moment.  The clarion call had been sounded.  Here at last was the first truly electable black man to run on a major party's ticket for president.

But Bill was right.  Race was the deciding factor in Obama's selection to represent his party.  Think of it this way (the way both Bill and Hillary saw it at the time): If Barack Obama had been white, he never would have gotten the nomination of the Democratic Party.

If Hillary had been running against six white guys instead of five whites and a black, she would have been the Democrat's nominee -- and almost without question would have gone on to beat John McCain for the presidency.

Back in 2008, then, with Obama at the top of the ticket, history could be made -- and, perhaps, racial wrongs righted.  But how did this "fundamental transformation" of America work out?  People went on to vote for a man who had no notable credentials, no accomplishments, no record of successful leadership.  His big claim to fame, as his future vice-presidential running mate Joe Biden put it, was that he was a well-dressed, well-spoken black man.

Barack Obama's nomination and subsequent two terms in office ushered in the worst kind of racism:  acceptable racism.  It's okay now to champion skin-color over character (for one of the major parties, at least).  And it's okay to demand diversity, as long as it's diversity of, most notably, skin color and sexual preference, not diversity of ideas.

True racism has gone unchallenged in almost every area of politics, academia, the culture, and unfortunately, the church.  Christians have become phobaphobic, afraid to challenge the advance from the aggressive left because they will be called all sorts of "phobic" -- homophobic, Islamaphobic, transphobic -- plus some phobics yet to be invented.

Racists are boldly making their accusations, and no one seems to be challenging them.  Not long ago, philosophy professor George Yancy was speaking at Wheaton College, a Christian college in Illinois, and he boldly proclaimed to the students and faculty in the audience that all white people are racist who have all profited from racism.  Did no one tell him that his statement was racist and that he himself is a racist?  Think of it like this: Yancy is a 400-pound obese person telling a guy ten pounds overweight that he needs to go on a diet.

Here's another way to look at it, Professor Yancy:  There are plenty of racists in America today and, yes, some of them are white.

It's not true that the answer to the movement "Black Lives Matter" is that "All Lives Matter."  "All" is too general and impersonal of a statement.  The Declaration of Independence says that "all men are created equal," which is what the Bible also tells us.  Each individual person is unique, created in the image of a loving God.  So, it's better to say, "Individual Lives Matter."  And since each person is unique, each is created equal; therefore, no person should ever be referred to as a "minority."  Minor to whom?  If you call someone a minority you are raising your status above theirs.  If each person is a "majority of one" because of their uniqueness -- not better or worse in worth and human dignity -- then true diversity is defined as any two, three or more people in any gathering.  They can be any color, have any ideas, anything.  You don't need representation by groups that have been described as "minorities."

So, Reverend King’s dream was not realized with the election of a black man to the presidency.  With Obama’s election (and, sadly, re-election), Americans voted for their own punishment for the national sin of acceptable racism.

Will we wake up as a nation and color-correct so that the future can be based on a person’s individual integrity?  Can and will that happen?

I guess I can dream.

I had this dream.

And in this dream, I was sitting poolside up in heaven.  And, around this exquisitely beautiful pool were some very, very happy people, some I recognized, many I did not.

One person I definitely recognized, sitting comfortably in his tailor-made lounge chair sipping a very bright, sparkling beverage, was the Reverend Martin Luther King.  His robe was dazzling white (like everybody else's), but it looked like there was a splotch of some kind on the front of it.  I was confused, until the Reverend King stretched out his arm as he replaced the empty beverage glass onto a small table.  The splotch was actually a face.  The face was that of Barack Obama.

You can imagine my surprise.  The Reverend King caught my look, and gave me a look of his own, a little smile.  He got up and turned to leave.  And as he set off, I saw the back of his white robe.  It read:  #NotMyPresident.

Unfortunately, down here on Earth, the dream of Barack Obama as president became an all-too-real nightmare.

I have often thought of the day that Barack Obama got nominated by his party to be the day that the Reverend King began spinning in his grave.  I could imagine him shouting from high above, "Didn't you people listen to me?  I said it was 'content of character,' not 'color of skin' that mattered!"

Bill Clinton certainly grasped what was happening back in the spring of 2008.  Bill made his feelings clear when the Democrats went full throttle for Obama that spring, jettisoning their love for Hillary at the time.  Bill made this apt observation:  "They played the race card on us!"

This utterance barely registered due to the excitement across the nation of this historic moment.  The clarion call had been sounded.  Here at last was the first truly electable black man to run on a major party's ticket for president.

But Bill was right.  Race was the deciding factor in Obama's selection to represent his party.  Think of it this way (the way both Bill and Hillary saw it at the time): If Barack Obama had been white, he never would have gotten the nomination of the Democratic Party.

If Hillary had been running against six white guys instead of five whites and a black, she would have been the Democrat's nominee -- and almost without question would have gone on to beat John McCain for the presidency.

Back in 2008, then, with Obama at the top of the ticket, history could be made -- and, perhaps, racial wrongs righted.  But how did this "fundamental transformation" of America work out?  People went on to vote for a man who had no notable credentials, no accomplishments, no record of successful leadership.  His big claim to fame, as his future vice-presidential running mate Joe Biden put it, was that he was a well-dressed, well-spoken black man.

Barack Obama's nomination and subsequent two terms in office ushered in the worst kind of racism:  acceptable racism.  It's okay now to champion skin-color over character (for one of the major parties, at least).  And it's okay to demand diversity, as long as it's diversity of, most notably, skin color and sexual preference, not diversity of ideas.

True racism has gone unchallenged in almost every area of politics, academia, the culture, and unfortunately, the church.  Christians have become phobaphobic, afraid to challenge the advance from the aggressive left because they will be called all sorts of "phobic" -- homophobic, Islamaphobic, transphobic -- plus some phobics yet to be invented.

Racists are boldly making their accusations, and no one seems to be challenging them.  Not long ago, philosophy professor George Yancy was speaking at Wheaton College, a Christian college in Illinois, and he boldly proclaimed to the students and faculty in the audience that all white people are racist who have all profited from racism.  Did no one tell him that his statement was racist and that he himself is a racist?  Think of it like this: Yancy is a 400-pound obese person telling a guy ten pounds overweight that he needs to go on a diet.

Here's another way to look at it, Professor Yancy:  There are plenty of racists in America today and, yes, some of them are white.

It's not true that the answer to the movement "Black Lives Matter" is that "All Lives Matter."  "All" is too general and impersonal of a statement.  The Declaration of Independence says that "all men are created equal," which is what the Bible also tells us.  Each individual person is unique, created in the image of a loving God.  So, it's better to say, "Individual Lives Matter."  And since each person is unique, each is created equal; therefore, no person should ever be referred to as a "minority."  Minor to whom?  If you call someone a minority you are raising your status above theirs.  If each person is a "majority of one" because of their uniqueness -- not better or worse in worth and human dignity -- then true diversity is defined as any two, three or more people in any gathering.  They can be any color, have any ideas, anything.  You don't need representation by groups that have been described as "minorities."

So, Reverend King’s dream was not realized with the election of a black man to the presidency.  With Obama’s election (and, sadly, re-election), Americans voted for their own punishment for the national sin of acceptable racism.

Will we wake up as a nation and color-correct so that the future can be based on a person’s individual integrity?  Can and will that happen?

I guess I can dream.