Saturday, August 28, 2010

Remembering the Dream

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

~Martin Luther King, Jr. August 28, 1963

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hallowed Ground & Hate

That is what we keep hearing that the site of Ground Zero, or the place where the twin towers once stood in NYC is.

Hallowed Ground.


hallowed [ˈhæləʊd (liturgical) ˈhæləʊɪd]
1. (Christianity / Ecclesiastical Terms) set apart as sacred
2. (Christianity / Ecclesiastical Terms) consecrated or holy
hallowedness n

hal·lowed   [hal-ohd; in liturgical use often hal-oh-id] Show IPA
regarded as holy; venerated; sacred: Hallowed be Thy name; the hallowed saints; our hallowed political institutions.

hal·low1    [hal-oh] Show IPA
–verb (used with object)
to make holy; sanctify; consecrate.
to honor as holy; consider sacred; venerate: to hallow a battlefield.
bef. 900; ME hal ( o ) wen, OE hālgian (c. G heiligen, ON helga ), deriv. of hālig holy

—Related forms
hal·low·er, noun

Holy Ground. Sacred.

Is this what we are going to call the sites where any attack took place? Not that I don't think we should show respect and offer a memorial for those who were killed. Innocent victims should receive the respect and honor they deserve, but is this really the direction we want to head as a country?

Why did we not make the entire Columbine School a memorial to those who were slaughtered? Those were innocents who were killed by terrorists as well, but the terrorists were kids from this country, so somehow that makes it a different kind of terrorist act?

When the world trade center was attacked in 1993, why was the site not labeled "Hallowed Ground" then? Was it because not enough people died and were injured? What was it that allowed things to resume as normal when today we are calling the entire area where the twin towers fell now to be labeled "Hallowed Ground"?

Amendment 1 of the Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Hate In Action:

That is just the beginning. The hate is continuing to grow.

NYPD Charges Man With Hate Crime After He Allegedly Stabbed Muslim Cab Driver

The New York Police Department has confirmed to TPM that a cab driver in Manhttan was allegedly stabbed by a passenger who asked if the cabbie was Muslim, and says the incident is being treated as a hate crime. The suspect has been charged with attempted murder and other crimes.
NYC Cabbie Stabbed for being Muslim

What we have learned about Michael Enright is that he is a film student at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and has been working with the Intersections International, an interfaith and multicultural effort which seeks to promote justice and peace. So at first glance this seems to be an out of place attack. Why would someone who is aligned with such an organization attack someone simply for being Muslim?

More information is now coming to light.

The Daily News also reports that cops found a diary on Enright that was filled with anti-Muslim rantings:

When he was arrested Tuesday in midtown, Enright had a personal diary filled with pages of "pretty strong anti-Muslim comments," a police source said.

The source said Enright's journal equated Muslims with "killers, ungrateful for the help they were being offered, filthy murderers without a conscience."

Diary Found on Man who Stabbed NYC Cabbie for being Muslim is filled with Anti-Muslim comments

So alcoholism and anti-Muslim sentiments were enough to put this guy into the frame of mind that it was acceptable to stab this cabbie? So maybe it was just an odd coincidence?

Well, we aren't finished with the updates.....

Man arrested after urinating on mosque prayer rugs
QUEENS (WABC) -- An apparently drunk man was arrested for shouting anti-Muslim slurs as he urinated on prayer rugs in a mosque in the Astoria section of Queens.

Omar Rivera was charged with criminal trespass after worishipers at the Al-Iman Mosque on Steinway Street subdued him Wednesday night.

Holding a beer bottle, Rivera burst in during evening prayers. He allegedly shouted anti-Muslim slurs, calling the worshipers "terrorists," then flashed his middle finger and urniated on the prayer rugs.

Man arrested for urinating on Mosque Prayer Rugs

Vandalism at Madera mosque called hate crime
Imam Abdullah Salem arrived at the Madera Islamic Center on Tuesday to find a pair of menacing signs, including one that read "Wake up America, the enemy is here."
It was the latest in a series of incidents that the Madera County Sheriff's Department is investigating as hate crimes. On Sunday, a brick nearly smashed a window at the center on Road 26 just outside Madera. Last week, another sign left on the property read "No temple for the god of terrorism."

Vandalism at Mosque

Gainesville Church Will Burn Qurans On 9/11

Gainesville officials denied a burn permit for a church that plans to burn copies of the Quran on the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

The Gainesville church, the Dove World Outreach Center, has a history of inflammatory comments and campaigns against Islam and remained defiant despite the burn permit denial.

In an e-mail sent out Wednesday, the church said, "City of Gainesville denies burn permit – BUT WE WILL STILL BURN KORANS."

The Dove World Outreach Center is promoting the event through its website and social networking sites like Facebook. The burning of the Islamic holy text is set to be carried out on the center's grounds.

Church Plans To Burn Koran's on September 11th

Okay, so this is just the start of what is sure to be more hate and anger directed toward Muslims in this country. The right wing is using fear to create a palpable hatred directed towards all Muslims in this country & abroad. This is the latest "attack ad" that is being use to gin up fear and hopefully help them in the election.:

Instead of using facts, they use fear. Instead of offering solutions, they instead simply try to make fear the tool to scare people into thinking that supporting a Community Center is a bad thing.

Ginning up hate to win a political election!

What has this country come to? Are we not beyond this type of irrational hatred and violence directed toward others who are deemed different? Religious intolerance has always been simmering below the surface, but it no longer below the surface and has now boiled over into full blow, in your face hate being shown to others.

What is going on with this country? When the right wing says they want to take our country back, are they talking about back to a time when it was acceptable to own slaves, when black people were segregated and woman were treated like accessories and nothing more?

Honestly I don't understand this backward thinking. What's worse is that I expect this hate to continue to grow thanks in large part to people like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush & Fox as they are going out of their way to promote this hate.

When did it become acceptable to level this kind of intolerance towards others? I thought we as a nation were moving past that kind of mindset?

We see the claims of needing "constitutional conservatives", but that is laughable when those calling for it don't even know what the constitution says or understands the meaning of the claims they are making.

Sarah Palin is a great example of this.

She has consistently claimed that she is having her 1st Amendment rights violated, but the fact is that she proves has no understanding of what she is saying by making that statement.

No law has been implemented to restrict her freedom of speech. None whatsoever. What she really means is that she doesn't want people to criticize her when she says something stupid, which happens with alarming regularity. She wants to be able to say what she wants without being questioned on it. That is why she refuses to do interviews unless she can pre-screen every question ahead of time (so that someone else can write the answers down for her).

She claims she want to speak "without the filter of the media", but the reality is that she wants to be able to say whatever pops into her head, without being questioned on it. She did the exact same thing during the 2008 campaign,

In a conservative radio interview that aired in Washington, D.C. Friday morning, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin said she fears her First Amendment rights may be threatened by "attacks" from reporters who suggest she is engaging in a negative campaign against Barack Obama.

Palin told WMAL-AM that her criticism of Obama's associations, like those with 1960s radical Bill Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, should not be considered negative attacks. Rather, for reporters or columnists to suggest that it is going negative may constitute an attack that threatens a candidate's free speech rights under the Constitution, Palin said.

"If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations," Palin told host Chris Plante, "then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media."
Palin Fears Media

GLENN GREENWALD From explains her complete lack of understanding:

The First Amendment is actually not that complicated. It can be read from start to finish in about 10 seconds. It bars the Government from abridging free speech rights. It doesn't have anything to do with whether you're free to say things without being criticized, or whether you can comment on blogs without being edited, or whether people can bar you from their private planes because they don't like what you've said.

If anything, Palin has this exactly backwards, since one thing that the First Amendment does actually guarantee is a free press. Thus, when the press criticizes a political candidate and a Governor such as Palin, that is a classic example of First Amendment rights being exercised, not abridged.

This isn't only about profound ignorance regarding our basic liberties, though it is obviously that. Palin here is also giving voice to the standard right-wing grievance instinct: that it's inherently unfair when they're criticized. And now, apparently, it's even unconstitutional.

According to Palin, what the Founders intended with the First Amendment was that political candidates for the most powerful offices in the country and Governors of states would be free to say whatever they want without being criticized in the newspapers. In the Palin worldview, the First Amendment was meant to ensure that powerful political officials such as herself would not be "attacked" in the papers. Is it even possible to imagine more breathtaking ignorance from someone holding high office and running for even higher office?

UPDATE: The Constitution also guarantees freedom of association. Thus, by Palin's "reasoning," when newspapers -- or Palin herself -- criticize Obama for his associations, they're threatening his constitutional rights.

Sarah doesn't have any understanding of the Constitution

The thing that is most concerning is that these quotes are from 2008 and yet here we are in 2010, and Sarah Palin is still showing the same misunderstanding of the 1st Amendment. This just goes to show that years have gone by and she has not been able to educate herself on even the most basic of rights given to us in the constitution, yet she is consistently demanding that she knows what our founding fathers meant when they wrote the constitution, and what a constitutional conservative is today.

If she has this kind of understanding of the constitution, why should we expect her to have a basic grasp of any issue?

Her promotion of hate during the 2008 presidential campaign was obvious and she relished the attack dog role she was given. Claiming that then Senator Obama was not like "you and me" as American's. That he "palled around with terrorists", and those kinds of remarks continue today from her.

She is not the only one. Glenn Beck & Rush as well as the entire cast of characters at Fox do the same thing, and they are joyously happy in their ability to use fear and even outright lies to misinform their viewers, using hate and fear to hopefully score political points.

This claim that the spot where the twin towers stood is Hallowed Ground and therefore should hold nothing Muslim on it, forgets that Muslims died that day as well. Muslims from the area rushed to help. They denounced the acts of those who wrought this damage upon us all, and the damage was not aimed solely at white christians, but at all of America and what we stand for, and yet here we watch as these who claim that Muslims from this country, who have worked for peace and understanding should forgo their rights for those who have decided to not only allow the terrorists to win, but to encourage them to engage in more activities by giving in to the fear that they try to create in attacking us.

This country, previously a proud one, who could be pointed to as an example of the good things democracy and basic fundamental rights could accomplish is falling backwards fast.

Things have got to change. People need to stand up and say "Enough is Enough". Before it is too late to turn the tide.