Last week marked an historic event in our country’s great evolution. It was the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech here in Washington, DC. I was raised by parents who were very committed to the civil rights movement. That left a big mark on me. My dad dedicated his entire career to furthering the employment opportunities for blacks, women, and other minorities. I am very proud of his body of work, which was quantified by a colleague and law professor in his eulogy of my father when he estimated that there are seven million women and minorities in higher job positions today as a direct result of my dad’s work. It made me very sad that my dad didn’t live to see a black man rise to the highest office in the United States of America. It would have given him a lifetime of goose bumps. On the anniversary of Dr. King’s great speech, a quote from which is engraved on my father’s headstone, I found myself reflecting on dreams and the amazing progress we’ve made toward racial equality in this country. But, I also found myself with some unfulfilled dreams on this dimension. Some I’d like to share.
I have a dream where our country elects a black man* president and he actually cares about the plight of young black men in the inner cities. One where he recognizes that one of the greatest threats to them is black on black violence. Where he sheds the politically motivated rhetoric about gun control laws in favor of addressing the real issue of prisons loaded up with black men who commit violent crimes grossly out of proportion to their representation in the general population.
I have a dream where our black president uses the bully pulpit of the presidency to speak to young black men about the importance of the nuclear family and to eschew teen pregnancy and single motherhood for young black women.
I have a dream where our black president helps give young black men in our inner cities a shot at the American Dream by helping them get their first job. Where he sheds the politically motivated and job killing rhetoric about raising the minimum wage. Where he cares more about young black men getting jobs than achieving his misguided policy goals.
I have a dream where our black president cares enough about young black children in inner cities and elsewhere to give them the same educational opportunities as his own children, instead of conspiring with teachers unions to trap these kids in failing public schools.
I have a dream where our black president cares enough about record levels of black unemployment to abandon his failed and divisive economic policies and focuses instead on growing the economy and creating jobs.
Most important, I have a dream where we elect a black man president and he recognizes the incredible and unique opportunity he has to unite the country, black and white, conservative and liberal, instead of driving wedges between groups at every turn.
Yes, those are my dreams.
*Wherever I write “black man” please read “man or woman” as my dreams are completely gender neutral. Well, not all of them, but I digress.