OUR RECURRING DREAM Also a tradition. Every year they light a big tree in Rockefeller Center at Christmas, and Scrooge has his recurring nightmares. Every New Year's Eve Grandma Outrage has one too many sherries and sleeps on the sofa. Everyone has their traditions, and one of our favorites is the dream we have every year after we finish the toasts on Martin Luther King, Jr. day:

We have a dream. Someday, in this great land of ours, people, includingeven lawyers and political activists, will come to believe that character really does matter.

We have a dream. We will no longer deify people who plagiarize their doctoral theses. If a man takes the title of Reverend, we'll expect him to honor at least a few of the Ten Commandments. If a married man competes with Hugh Hefner for sexual conquests we won't feel compelled to listen to his moral wisdom.

We have a dream. Someday black churches in America will not be manipulated as institutional power bases by ambitious black men. We're starting to worry that the good reverends are using the Borgia Popes as their role models. We dream that the day will come when lawyers and politicians stop cynically using race as leverage to increase their wealth and power.

We have a dream. Someday, quiet people leading lives of unheralded virtue and real productivity will be honored. Someday all people, black and white, will realize that the real heroes aren't the ones giving speeches filled with bombastic rhetoric. Real heroes are quietly doing real work: building houses, writing software code, nursing the elderly, parenting the young - the whole cornucopia of human endeavor that actually results in better lives for real people.

We have a dream. Someday holidays will really matter, instead of serving as crass, meaningless tools of political correctness. People will actually give thanks on Thanksgiving. Christians will actually celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas. New Year's Day will mean something other than recovering from a hangover and watching football on the tube.

We have a dream. Someday Americans will realize that there's something perverse about the idea of devoting an equal amount of time, and reverence, to:

  • A single civil rights leader
  • All of America's presidents including founding fathers like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson
  • And the thousands of men and women who have died defending the United States in wartime.
Yet we have one day for Presidents Day, one day for Memorial Day, and one day to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

We have a dream. Although we're as sentimental as the next fool, we hope that someday we'll all realize that early death does not qualify one for sainthood. Whether it be John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Princess Diana, or Martin Luther King Jr., dying young may be the road to legend, but hardly a guarantee that the life was worth remembering, much less celebrating.

Our final dream is that the day will come in America when one can criticize black cultural icons without being labeled a racist. We call this the impossible dream.

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