Monday, January 21, 2008

“I Have A Dream” - Revisited

This year we have Monday off to honor Martin Luther King as a national holiday. I’m sure lots of folks look at it as a day where they get paid not to show up at work, or for those working, a chance to pick up time and a half for producing nothing more than they do any other day of the week; except today the employer must fork out extra money because it’s a holiday.

Being a business owner, I don’t share a warm fuzzy feeling for nationally calendared items; holidays means the banks are closed along with the post office and other non essential government services. I’m sure Mark Twain or Will Rogers would’ve had something to say about my use of non essential and government services being placed in the same sentence. Have I painted a bleak enough picture or should I continue by quoting from the lead article in the Houston Chronicle?

“Snaking north to south from the University of Houston to its dead end at Almeda-Genoa Road, the street named for Martin Luther King Jr., transects some of the city's poorest neighborhoods. A third of the residents live below the poverty level, and the harshness of their lives is chronicled by the rap lyrics of South Park Mexican, Scarface and Z-Ro.

Look and you'll see a street lined with a shabby procession of barber shops and grocery stores. Look again, and you'll see mom-and-pop businesses, flourishing churches and even headquarters for national companies. The boulevard is a street of dreams; a street of dreams broken.”

The story had bright moments; however, for the most part the article left the impression that nothing had changed or even gotten worse with crime and drugs keeping poor black neighborhoods living in fear. I believe the mass media is most happy when members of our community are divided, particularly when the chance to play the race card might improve their cash flow.

I don’t think Martin would approve of how the race card is played by such notable figures as Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton as they go about puffing up their own status at the expense of the black community; all under the guise of pointing out racial injustice. There’s a line in the movie, Oh God, where George Burns explained how these folks had been preaching and bringing in big bucks, but had stopped using God’s words a long time ago; if the shoe fits…

“We shall overcome”, remains a faint echo in the background and is not reserved for Black Americans; it being a rally cry for all races to hearken to the voice of our Savior, to obey the commandments and live as brothers. I wrote my thoughts on this a couple of years back, I Have A Dream – The Challenge where I explained the importance of knowing the true and living God in order to appreciate the fact that we are His children.

If only we could learn how to see each other as brothers and sisters, children of our Father in Heaven; then we might learn how to properly serve one another. This is the Dream which Martin Luther King wanted to see fulfilled.

No comments: