Editorial | Breathing life into the American dream
<![CDATA[The American dream," Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1961, "reminds us that every man is heir to the legacy of worthiness." If only he could be here to know how much that affirmation has gained traction and speed. Though we are far from being a perfect union, and no one should rest until everyone, no matter color, creed, gender or orientation is embraced by that legacy, several revolutions have occurred since he spoke those words 52 years ago. Still others are happening now. On the eve of the national holiday dedicated to Dr. King's work and his own legacy, the same day the nation's first African-American president will publicly be sworn in to a second term as president of the United States, it's worth pausing to look at where we are, and where we still have to travel. Recent developments in a small Kentucky town named Vicco, and big doings in Washington, D.C., in the next few days demonstrate a powerful confluence of movements that give life to that legacy of worthiness to more and more of America's children. Last week, Vicco made it onto the national map. The Perry County community of about 330 souls became the smallest U.S. city -- and only the fourth city in Kentucky -- to extend the same non-discrimination protections offered to women and people of color to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who live and work there, too. That a spot in Appalachia would be so progressive in its dealings with its own citizens seems to have surprised a lot of people. But it shouldn't. Places like Vicco also remind us of who we are and who we are supposed to be, and that the legacy of worthiness is alive and well in small towns as well as big cities. Vicco City Attorney Eric Ashley put the reminder in terms that ought to make all of us sit a little taller, and re-double the efforts to spread Vicco's good words and deeds from the hills and hollers to the cityscapes and the coasts: "Vicco is a community that believes all folks should be treated fairly. We believe everyone deserves the opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Fairness is a Kentucky value, a Vicco value, and one of our most American values." President Barack Obama's message in his second inaugural address won't be unveiled until Monday around noon, when he will talk to the throngs who have gathered to celebrate his re-hiring as the leader of our country. It is both close to and light years from where Dr. King addressed throngs a half-century ago about fairness and equality. Four years ago, newly elected President Obama spoke, too, of everyone deserving the opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in his first inaugural address. Calling upon the strength of our "patchwork heritage," the 44th president said: "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth. And because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe should soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself ... " Reveal itself not only to the world, but also to ourselves. Vicco helped do that as late as last week. So did the election and re-election of President Obama, four years ago and two months ago. So did the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., almost 50 years ago. But there is still much to do in overcoming what still divides us, and still keeps too many of us down. All of us have a part to play in advancing American values, as the Vicco city attorney put it, and in dissolving the lines of tribe, as the President described it. As Dr. King said in that 1961 speech in which he invoked an American dream that reminds us that every person is heir to a legacy of worthiness, we cannot remain a first-class nation if we have second-class citizens. "America is challenged to bring her noble dream into reality, and those who are working to implement the American dream are the true saviors of democracy," he said. "... I call upon you not to be detached spectators, but involved participants, in this great drama that is taking place in our nation and around the world."
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#1 Jan 20, 2013
I don't feel like reading the whole entire article (it's LONG)... Is the writer of that article comparing Johnny Cummings to Martin Luther King Junior ??? For real ??? I like Johnny ... He is such a nice guy but ... Wow, lol! Okay ... It's strange times in Vicco these days !!!
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