Dream Ticket? Whose Dream Is This?

When MLK said that he had a dream that little black boys and little white girls would one day hold hands run on a presidential ticket together, is this what he had in mind? If so, we should stop referring to him as a civil rights leader and change his title to Republican strategist. Hillary Clinton thinks she and Barack Obama may be able to join their forces to fight sit-down-and-talk-with evil later this year.

“That may be where this is headed,” she told the CBS Early Show during a marathon set of appearances on the network morning news shows. “But of course we have to decide who is on the top of ticket. I think the people of Ohio very clearly said that it should be me.”

Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee for President isn’t a dream for anyone except for maybe John McCain and those “near and dear friends” of his in Washington. The funny thing is that making Obama her running mate is really the only chance she would have of winning, but if Obama gets the nomination he’d be cutting his own throat by naming her as his running mate.

Was This Part Of The Dream?

I’ve wrestled for a couple of days on how to compose this post, and I’m still not sure I can do this idea justice.  I think the best way to frame it is to begin by quoting an email a friend sent to me on Saturday.  A little background–he has two small children who are enrolled in arguably the best pre-school in their city. 

When he picked up his kids last Friday and asked them what they’d learned, they told him about “Martin Luther The King”–very cute.  How sad it is that the lesson they learned about one of the greatest Americans in history is sprinkled with horrible ideas that totally contradict Dr. King’s message…

He helped black people. The white people weren’t nice to him. They put him in jail.  Yeah, and they killed him.
All black people are nice. White people are mean.
The white people hit him and wouldn’t go to school with him.

Those were direct quotes from the kids.   And as my friend pointed out:

By the way, before yesterday, they had absolutely no idea that
there were black people or white people.

There’s no better time than childhood to reinforce what kids already know to be true–that people should “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”  I realize they are kids, and they obviously get some things mixed up.  And I also realize that they still don’t really grasp who Martin Luther King Jr. was.

But I don’t think “All _____ people are bad and all _____ people are good” is what Dr. King had in mind.  Fill in the blanks with any adjectives you want–black, white, red, yellow, Christian, Jewish, pretty, ugly, stupid, smart, rich, poor, Mexican, French, short, tall, fat, skinny, etc.–and that statement couldn’t be further from the truth.

It’s shameful when a great message like Dr. King’s is bastardized to further an agenda.  Knowing no other details that what I’ve shared here, I can’t say that’s what happened in their school.  I doubt the teacher(s) told these kids directly that “all white people are bad and all black people are good,” but if that’s the message that was received, they might as well have.

My Buddy at the Klan Rally

Yesterday a friend of mine posted on his MySpace blog a story about attending a KKK rally in Newport, TN a few years ago on MLK Day. My buddy isn’t a KKK supporter in any way. He was there more for the circus atmosphere than anything. As he says, it is fun to see stupid people doing stupid things.

His post describes how the Klan chose Newport because the town was unable to pass restriction on them in time to prevent the issuance of a permit. The rally ended up being relegated to a small area near the courthouse surrounded by the police for the Klan’s protection. Apparently, it was difficult to hear the spout any of their nonsense from outside the barricades due to the drumming of the hippies who’d gathered to protest the protest, or whatever.

I was thinking about the many levels of injustice that were present in this situation, and how one of the biggest benefits of free speech was probably never even intended. Free speech gives absolute idiots the opportunity to expose themselves for what they really are.

I’m too lazy to look it up, but I believe it was Mark Twain who said, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

All of the cities and towns that “successfully” blocked the Klan denied their citizens the opportunity to find out what they believe and decide for themselves. The hippies that drummed them out of earshot did the same, and became an annoyance in and of themselves.

Wouldn’t a better approach be to have someone with an opposing view (and the courage to espouse it without hiding their identity) present a different set of ideas? Are we afraid that people are so ignorant that they can no longer tell a good idea from a bad one?