Street mural of Martin Luther King Jr. by Camilo José Vergara
Perhaps the most eloquent summary of black American history I ever heard was given by Jesse Jackson on Tavis Smiley's interview show on PBS. On that occasion, Rev. Jackson said that he thought that what we call the "I Have a Dream" speech should actually be called the "Broken Promises" speech. If you think about it, everybody knows Martin Luther King, Jr., had a dream. But what was the dream? It was simply that America would one day fulfill its explicit promises to all of its citizens.
I have to admit that even though I'm an Edwards supporter in the current Presidential race—for as long as that lasts—I felt a curious welling of pride when Barack Obama won the Iowa Caucuses. I felt proud of my country. Obama's victory made me think that maybe we've reached the point at which a black candidate for President can be appraised for who he is and what he believes and how he might lead rather than for what he happens to be. That would be a promise fulfilled.
And, incidentally, I'm in favor of moving today to August.