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LIVING THE DREAM





Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is an iconic figure in the annals of American history. Dr. King exemplified the ability for an individual outside the typical halls of power to make indelible change in our society. All Americans, regardless of background, benefited from Dr. King’s message. A message establishing hope for a society united harmoniously regardless of race. Despite our challenges, America must strive to reduce social tension related to race, gender, and other demographics. 

There is no easy answer to solve the racial tensions that seem to plague our society all to often. As the most diverse nation in the world, conflicting needs combined with past transgressions create challenges for identifying a workable and realistic solution. Strong emotions and unwavering political views harden stances. Our cultural political conditions create unnecessary dichotomies preventing society from solving many of our important issues. Until society can have a true honest dialogue surrounding our tensions, there really is no way forward. 

An obstacle is some want to move past the issue by overlooking the need to address discrimination in its current form. Others want to weaponize discrimination and view every social conflict in the context of discrimination. Both sides miss the middle ground. Society needs to be able to address incidents without regression to division. There will always be conflicts or incidents involving different races. Facts must be vetted before one jumps to conclusions or dismisses possibilities. 

The biggest impact society can accomplish in the near term is to reduce tensions and eliminate violence related to discrimination. There has yet to be a year in recent memory where headlines did not include stories covering the loss of life related to some form of discrimination. Whether it is a large- or small-scale event, hate crimes need to be stopped. People should not loss their lives for the mental illness of others. Society must fight hate in all its forms, not only the politically convenient. 

Peoples must at a basic level respect the right for others to exist. Respect the right to life, life, and the pursuit of happiness of all, not a select few. One does not have to agree with or embrace another’s views or values, but one should respect their rights. The great aspect of America is the belief in openness for all and universal personal and political freedoms for all citizens. Also, it does not hurt to experience another culture or seek to bridge the gap between cultures by sharing commonalities. 

Our failed attempts at fighting discrimination have largely resulted in a more divided society due to inconsistency. Resulted in more discriminatory feelings. Some use too broad of a paintbrush in exploiting every incident, creating groups to emote anger, resentment, and division. There is a need to combat discrimination and hate. But, there needs to be push towards ensuring justice and moving communities towards forgiveness and unity. Forgiveness is a critical aspect in American life that many miss. 

Society needs to combat all forms of hate. Not only the politically convenient forms. Social harmony will not happen when hatred is ignored in certain circumstances and overreacted to in others. The approach only reinforces stereotypes of inequity, as one race bears the complete responsibility. In reality, all bear some responsibility. Hate will be defeated by love, learning, and tolerance, not entitlement, revenge, and anger. 

No one can be sure if America will ever reach Dr. King’s Dream. That does not mean our society should stop trying. There is a clear need to identify a new path and dogma around the issue.