Today is the 40th anniversary of the day Dr. Martin Luther King was shot and killed. Race relations in America has come a long way since 1968. For proof one only has to turn on the nightly news and there they will see another see another eloquent African-American orator in the King tradition, only this time running for, and likely winning, the Democratic nomination for President of the United States of America. If that’s not progress I don’t know what is. I won’t be voting for Barak Obama if he is in fact nominated, we don’t agree on too many issues, but the historical significance of his run is certainly not lost on me, and I can’t help but feel proud of my country because of it.
Of course, racism isn’t completely dead and probably never will be. Certainly racism is not unique to America, but, in a way, our brand of it is. More than any nation of the world, people of every color, belief, creed, and ethnicity have flocked here, some “yearning to breathe free” and some against their will all those years ago. This makes for a unique challenge: to blend so many people of such diverse orign into a single, cohesive nation, where everyone is fairly represented. No other nation has had so great a challenge. It’s not an easy task and we’ve made our share mistakes. In a way I think racial tensions are America’s punishment for being the last “civilized” nation to abolish slavery.
But if Dr. King, who lived through the challenges, through the epithets, and knew first hand the human tragedy racism reaps, if he can dream of a better future, and give his life up for it, than so can we forty years later.