MLK, The Declaration and The America Dream

Today, as we all rightly honor the invaluable contributions Dr. Martin Luther King made to American culture and society, we should also ask ourselves, “What steps can America make today to further his beautiful and important 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.”

In his “I Have a Dream” speech, on August 28th, 1963, one of the most profound speeches in American and world history, Dr. King said that his dream was “deeply rooted” in the American Dream. Read the transcript of his speech, or better yet, watch and listen to it here. He rightfully demanded an end to the hideous evil of racial segregation, but ultimately, in an even higher call, he demanded equal access for all to the “American Dream.”

In this speech, Martin Luther King referred to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as “magnificent.” Dr. King repeated the expression “let freedom ring” no less than eight times in his magnificent speech in 1963.

In a long conversation on the day before MLK Day 2014, a dear friend who is a patriotic, conservative black Republican woman, told me she had declined two offers to sit on floats in the annual Martin Luther King Day Parades. She explained in essence that MLK celebrations that should focus on his goal of equal rights among the races, have been been hijacked by the Far Left who are urging policies, like forced income equality/socialism, that will hurt black Americans. She does not want to be seen as supporting these Left wing goals.

What would MLK think about the signature political and economic dispute in America today, which is whether America should remain tethered to our liberty-based roots in the Declaration, the Constitution, and our free market system, or whether it should move toward a far more government-controlled, socialism-based society and economy, using the tax system to forcibly redistribute wealth, and facilitating the government’s more rigorous control over our economy?

In Chicago, the day before MLK day, two thousand Americans gathered at a church to celebrate Dr. King’s birthday and to “reclaim Dr. King’s Vision for Economic Equality.” Their demands included universal “free” health care, economic equality, public funding of schooling from pre-K through a postgraduate Master’s degree, and a more progressive tax system. They denounced racism (agreed!), capitalism (my friend’s point), and even fracking.

In fairness to these Chicagoans, there are a small number of MLK quotes in which he says or implies that “maybe” America should move toward democratic socialism. While is it unclear what exactly he meant, his frustration in the 1960’s with a nation slow to bring full equality to black Americans, and the plight of many blacks who were impoverished under segregation, might explain a flirtation with the idea that government should forcibly redistribute wealth.

In fairness to MLK, he spoke before most of America had a clear picture of the indescribable suffering and poverty that socialism (use of government force for wealth redistribution) has wreaked on the inhabitants of Cuba, Argentina, and Venezuela etc. This was before the world watched as the socialist/communist countries of the eastern European block overthrew that system and demanded freedom. It was before we all knew and saw that socialism hurts people, especially the poor. Before we saw that Cubans risk life and limb to reach America, but never the other way around.

When Dr. King implored that all people be “judged” by the content of their character, he was urging individuals be judged based on merit. He repeated and repeated, “let freedom ring.”

You cannot have the freedom Dr. King urged at the same time you have the government escalating its forcible confiscation of the earnings of private citizens to give it to other private citizens. That is the opposite of freedom. That’s tyranny.

Collectively Americans come together to honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s immeasurable contribution toward racial understanding and equal rights in our country. We recommit to advancing racial equality and respect. We work to open the doors for more and more to join the American Dream. Because we love the freedom that Dr. King so loved, we should all wholeheartedly reject the socialist agenda that crushes freedom and the American Dream.


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