Monday, January 18, 2010


Today is Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the U.S.A.  Further below is his well-known excerpt from that August day in 1963 I wish to share, that, no matter what your political stripe, this speech applies to those who believe in freedom first and forement, and yet it is probably one of the most inspirational political speeches anyone has ever given.  Even for this young and humble Baptist minister, it's not even a religious speech, but yet is rife with spiritualism. 

Why? Without even saying it, there is no mention of reprocussions for past wrongs, no doublespeak about rich vs. poor, nothing about socio-economics, government intervention, or even affirmative action.  It purports no creed or dogma, and yet calls on God Almighty.  

So what I believe this historic speech is about is a call to transform the distorted human spirit away from prejudice and injustice toward tolerance, understanding, and unity--where the lines of individualism and community are blurred, not because the government made us do it, but because we know and feel it is for the betterment of ourselves and families, but also our friends and neighbours. And yet, for the individual, to look deep inside and recognize the humbling penitence of his or her existence.

From the American Constitution, to the Bill of Rights, to Lincoln's "Four Score" and Emancipation Proclumation, to this speech, the generations of American society appears to require a reminder of why they believe they are the greatest nation that has ever existed.  Here's why...

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true.

So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that;

let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual,

"Free at last! free at last!

thank God Almighty,

we are free at last!"

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