Dear Dr. King,
In August 1963, you marched into our nation’s capital with extraordinary courage and vision, stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial and delivered one of the most important speeches in our country’s history.
You said, “In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check.” I wish you had lived to see it, sir, but the check has finally been cashed, the promissory note has been made good and we, as a nation, have honored our sacred obligation.
You said to the nation, challenging us as a people, “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.” Dr. King, your dream has been realized, that day has come and a young black man from Illinois has been elected president of the United States.
You closed your speech by saying, “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!”
Amen, and with thanks,
Rev. Jesse Jackson
Founder and President
I’m afraid your worst fears have been realized: America is officially a nonracist nation.
For a man who has built a career and a business capitalizing on black America’s deepest fears and white America’s long-held guilt, the election of a black man to the most powerful and important job in the world must be devastating. The election of Barack Obama as president of the United States of America proves what rational people have known for years: We are not a racist nation.
Yes, in a nation of 300 million people there are racists (and, by the way, they come in all colors), but they are the exception, not the rule.
President-elect Obama endured the longest, most expensive, most grueling job interview in the history of the world and, in the end, he was elected president of the United States. In a nation that is 13 percent black, we elected a black president. It was not the result of affirmative action, or of one of your corporate blackmail schemes. It was because a majority of voters in this predominantly white nation felt that he was the best candidate and will make the best president.
He beat a respected, successful, experienced, white war hero. He did this in spite of your very visible lack of support for him. He did this in spite of your comment on national television that “he’s been talking down to black people” and that, as a result, you “wanna cut his nuts off.”
Rev. Jackson, it is you who has been neutered, ironically rendered politically impotent by the success of a black man. You will quickly be reduced to the black racist equivalent of an ambulance chaser, fighting Al Sharpton for local news slots, unable to bully your way through cowed white journalists into the national and international scene.
I hope that you can finally realize what so many of us have known for years, that you are living in the past and that the present and future of America is bright and colorful. While we have not forgotten our past, we have learned from it and grown beyond it. Perhaps you can put aside your prejudice and anger and join the nation in welcoming our new president.
Sincerely, and with hope,
Scott Harris is a political commentator. Read his columns and contact him through his Web site, www.scottharris.biz, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.