Tuesday, August 28, 2012

49 Years After "I Have A Dream" We Now Have a Nightmare

You know a speech about social issues and cultural wars is special when it's just as inspirational to a white, 45 year-old politically conservative Jew as it is to blacks, women, liberals, feminists, libertarians, atheists and Christians. 49 years ago to the day, such a message was delivered that truly resonates for all, regardless of race, creed, religion or political orientation, to act upon the good which lies within us rather than follow our darkest, most selfish base instincts with the goal being to bring people together with dignity, freedom, liberty and justice for all.

Sadly, the positive message of "I Have A Dream" has in many ways been lost and scattered by the sands of time over the past 49 years. Today's culture of hyper-partisanship, self-righteous indignation, and broad-stroke condemnation to the prescribed, party-line orthodoxy of the left/right talking points is in many ways more viscous and intolerant than ever.

Are conservatives really all just ignorant bigots, hate mongers and Fascists?

Are progressives really all just useful idiots, hate mongers and Communists?

Well, if you pay heed to the politicians, news columnists, television talking heads, social media rants, etc. you certainly get the feeling that's how our culture has devolved since MLK's speech in Washington. Think about the last time you read, saw or heard two intelligent people with differing points of view have a rational discussion without the screaming, flame-throwing rhetoric?

Everything from social issues to economic strategies is now divided into the most polarized, virulent extreme positions possible, then packaged, marketed and distributed to the masses in order to create a raging culture so filled with anger and hate that each side not only wants to defeat the enemy at the polls, they want to destroy their opponent's beliefs from the face of the earth. Nothing can be learned from those who think or believe differently these days, they're all just stupid, worthless and evil practitioners who must be vanquished without a second thought.

Look, I understand when you have strong beliefs you want to advance them. You want your ideas to be heard, your philosophies to be accepted and your theories to be adopted. However, before you go ahead and apply your snap judgements to others, before you dehumanize those who don't agree with you, try stopping for a moment, watching this speech, and try imagining how you could approach the people you disagree with differently.

So sayeth Kenny Poo.


  1. Wow, the speech still really hits home all these years later. I'm way too young to have been there, but you're right that its sad we arent able to come together better. Its especially awful in the election years.

    BTW, really well written post and I def agree with your points!! :)

    1. Thanks! It's a tremendous speech in every way, and I just wanted to do my best to give it the respect and justice it deserved in my commentary. Thank you for posting your thoughts. :)

  2. You are so right. The worst is how people get on TV and decry the polarization in our society and then proceed to blast the people on the other side of the political spectrum for being the ones responsible. Social media is a big culprit too--people get so unbelievably intolerant and nasty in that sphere. I avoid politics in my tweets for the most part. It just doesn't lend itself to "rational discussion." Thanks for posting Dr. King's incredible speech and your spot-on commentary. -Andy

    1. Thanks, Andy. I notice the most egregious offenders never seem to grasp the irony of their own intolerant, bullying behavior, which all too often comes under the guise of buzzwords like "peace" and "tolerance".