Friday, August 23, 2013

Puppets & Perspective

There never seems to be enough time in any one week to cover all the topics we'd like you to hear about. The story of Antoinette Tuff and her disarming of a school shooter in Atlanta is one we didn't get to touch on this week.

We also ran out of time to tackle the GOP's continued fantasyland behavior on Obamacare, as Eugene Robinson detailed in the Washington Post. Entire U.S. Congressional delegations - like the five members from Nebraska  - continue to act like right-wing puppets on the health care issue, all pandering to the same far-right fringe voters, while ignoring anyone who doesn't parrot the same message. As Greg Sargent noted yesterday, the day of political reckoning for weak Congressional Republicans like that is coming soon, and it's likely to be a nightmare for them.

Nightmares and dreams are both on our minds this weekend, as the memorials and celebrations surrounding the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's iconic "I Have A Dream" speech and his legendary protest march are filling the Washington, DC area.

A recent Reuters poll confirmed that fifty years after Dr. King's infamous "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom" Americans say we still haven't achieved his dream. In fact, the two biggest problems America faces today are the very same problems King was fighting back then: A lack of jobs that pay a fair and living wage, along with continued racial, economic, and systemic injustices within our government.

Statistics bear out these sad facts about our nation today. Wages for working Americans have remained flat for more than a decade, and the median income for Americans still hasn't been able to climb up to where it was before the Great Recession began in 2007. For African Americans, the numbers are even worse, as the economic gap between blacks and white hasn't budged for 50 years.

As Dr. King's son, Martin Luther King III noted in a recent editorial for USA Today, the Supreme Court's attack earlier this summer on the Voting Rights Act has set back our nation fifty years or more. The subsequent attacks on voting rights in states like Texas and North Carolina are thankfully being fought against by Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice - but, to paraphrase Dr. King, we can't be satisfied when some of our fellow Americans are denied the right to vote while others believe they have nothing left to vote for.

Even in the midst of so many lingering problems, as Dr King himself said that day, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, "Let us not wallow in the valley of despair." We simply need to keep things in perspective.

Fifty years ago, many would have considered it a foolish dream that an African American man would be our President today. Now, we're in the midst of President Obama's second term and the idea that a woman could be our next president surprises almost no one.

Those two facts alone should remind us all that almost anything is possible. Keep dreamin'.