Friday, January 31, 2014
"Behold, Here Cometh The Dreamer"
"Behold, Here cometh the dreamer. Let us slay him, then see what comes of his dreams".
These words from Genesis speaks of the cynicism of our world. When Martin Luther King died on the advent of an era of awakening to the vital need for racial equality he was remembered for one whose dream would finally be realized. When John Kennedy died millions of Americans carried, within their hearts, a dream he espoused of an America as Camelot; where "right"makes "might, where one asks what one could do for their country, rather than what their country could do for them. And when Ronald Reagan addressed the nation for the last time from the Oval Office he spoke of America as a golden city on a hill, where one's dreams may come true if one works hard enough to realize them.
I have dreams that have rested in my heart for all of my life. When I was growing up I dreamed of escaping the abject poverty of my youth. As a young man fighting in Vietnam I dreamed that wars would someday no longer be necessary, freeing our nation's youth for building, and not destroying. When I watched Dr. King marching peacefully through Selma, Alabama I dreamed that the bigots and their fire hoses and warped ideas would die a natural death. As a father I dreamed that my children would grow up safely, get a good education and live a life of worth.
An old man now I gaze upon the American landscape and see field after field of broken dreams. I see millions of Blacks who have both forgotten or forsaken the dreams of that preacher who wrote so eloquently from a Birmingham jail. I see a majority of Americans who now ask "what their country can do for them, rather than what they may offer of themselves". I see those same Americans sit grandly in front of a computer, a television, or a gaming machine while corrupt politicians deal from the bottom of the deck.
Despite the cynicism of an uncaring nation I continue to tell the story of the dreamers. Their hopes still resonate in my heart. For this I am often slayed by those who dare not listen, lest some remnant of collective guilt cast ruin on their apathy. Lest they be asked to stand tall and take some measure of responsibility for the slow demise of an America where once dreams became real when one worked to make them so.
The new America is a nation where her citizens believe we can only be roused by crass rudeness, by loud voices, by class and economic warfare.....where everyone, to succeed, must deal from the bottom of the deck. An America where contract law is derided, where the law itself may be selectively enforced, dependent upon the whims of a politician soliciting electoral support from one favored faction over another. An America where her citizens believe they must grab a slice of the collective pie, rather than earning it by baking a larger pie.
The dreamers have died and the dreams died with them. They have been slayed by apathy and greed and corruption. Perhaps someday, in some far corner of the world, someone may again awaken from a golden sleep and speak again of a place where hard work and high morals rule the day...where "right" makes "might" is again the song that rings brightly in the human heart.