Today is the day set aside to celebrate and honor one of many heroes of the American Civil Rights movement: the Rev. Dr. Martin L. King Jr., who was assassinated during the height of the political turmoil in the late nineteen sixties. There were (I’m sure) parades and silent marches held, round table discussions convened, and various professorial pundits pontificating on whether the “dream lives on,” particularly in a time when the United States is governed by a bi-racial Black Democrat.
Dr. King, (who was a Republican), is oft quoted from his famous “I have a Dream” speech delivered at the March on Washington as saying that he looked forward to the day when his children would be judged “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Powerful words these; words that struck home with the listeners of the day and which continue to resonate to the present; words that capture the essence of what the American experiment in representative republican government is all about: being judged by the content of one’s character rather than by some inherited class, social or economic position, by some immutable human trait like one’s gender or skin color, or by one’s national origin, religious creed, or philosophical conviction. This is the essence of what the framers, the founding fathers had in mind, flawed though they were in their own willingness to extend this understanding to the then slaves, natives, and women among them.
This notion, that men ought to be regarded as individuals and treated in accordance with their choices and behavior, is anathema to the governing philosophy of the Democratic Party. The alpha and omega of the Democratic Party is judging people not by the “content of their character” but by their color, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, wealth, lack of wealth, political convictions, creed, and any other such thing as they deem to be important to the maintenance of their power.
It does not matter that a particular child has been irresponsible with his life choices and fathered a child out of wedlock and dropped from high school without finishing. He is to be considered a victim of racism and the evil machinations of rich Republicans who want to cut school funding.
It doesn’t matter that the girl he impregnates chose to have sex with someone not her husband and to then fail to use birth control. She too is a victim of sexism and the evil machinations of evil conservative Christians who want to force her to carry her child to term.
It doesn’t matter that this woman chooses to overeat and smoke during her pregnancy and then gives birth to an underweight child who requires extra expensive medical care. The child is a victim of classism and the evil machinations of evil Insurance companies who think people should pay higher rates for engaging in higher risk behavior.
I could go on and on, but the point is made. It is never the content of the character that matters to Democrats. It isn’t that the unschooled, barely literate slang talking, pants dragging the ground, mouth full of gold young applicant is unqualified for the work; the employer is racist.
This kind of communitarian thinking is dehumanizing and makes men no more than their environment or circumstances or worse yet, makes them hostages of their race or gender. In other words it is the exact opposite of what King stood for in his speech.
Because of the constant race-baiting and power grabbing techniques of the Democratic cabal, MLK Jr’s vision of a future where character content mattered more than skin color still lies a way into the future. And while Republicans have plenty to own up to as it relates to race relations, it is far past time for them to reclaim the mantle of being the party that judges only by content and not by the container.