Keeping the dream alive

Today – August 28 – is the 47th anniversary of the ‘March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom’ in 1963. The occasion is better remembered as the one on which Dr Martin Luther King gave his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech, his plea for racial tolerance, equality and harmony. The event is often said to have prompted the Civil Rights Act 1964.

Today – in 2010 – the rightwing American Fox News pundit, Glenn Beck, is proposing to hold a rally, styled as the ‘Restoring Honor’ rally, at the same location as Martin Luther King’s event: the Lincoln Memorial. The event is described as ‘non-political’, though if you read Mr Beck’s note on his website it is hard to see what the issues are that he is addressing; but his own credentials, and the fact that Sarah Palin is addressing the event, may provide some clues.

There is total incompatibility between the values that were at the root of the march and speech in 1963 and those of today’s ultra-conservative rally. Which set of values persuades America now will have a considerable impact on everyone’s future, and not just in the United States.

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4 Comments on “Keeping the dream alive”

  1. Kevin Denny Says:

    I drove home this evening along Martin Luther King Boulevard, as I often do. Two blocks from where I live is the site of the whipping post where slaves were whipped for infractions of the law such as being out after dark. The university I am currently in was de-segregated in the early 1950s. The widow of one of the first African-Americans to graduate from the university is a friend and neighbour. It makes it all a bit more real.
    So we have made progress but, as the man said, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

  2. Vincent Says:

    I would be much more worried had this idiot been barred from the Lincoln Memorial. For the tone of your piece seems to cast this space with a reverence. And a bit of a notion that Beck is somehow causing pollution by his very presence.
    I, would be of that school with François-Marie Arouet, I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.

    • Ah no, Vincent, I wasn’t suggesting his march should be stopped, and I agree that free speech is a precious commodity and must be claimed even for those who say objectionable things. I think his choice of date and venue is very questionable, but that doesn’t mean he should be stopped. My point was a more general one – about the need to choose between conflicting values.

      • Vincent Says:

        Well is it not a bit like all republicans -lefties and righties- turning up to Brodenstown, but on different days.
        If the MLK group haven’t booked the date year on year on general or any other notion. Surely it’s a tad rich to close off the date. A date chosen by MLK because it’s just before the school year.

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