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August 27, 2013

Primus Mootry: The 1963 March on Washington — speaking truth to power

(Continued)

Now, I know there are rich, powerful people who, for selfish reasons, treat change like it's an ugly rash. I am certain these elites get quite itchy when they see new coalitions forming outside the reach of money and power. They can't be bought and, if they could, there isn't enough money to buy them. I call them patriots.

I claim, however, that the opponents of change, whatever their reasons, are fighting a losing battle. For one thing, The Great March put America on a new trajectory toward freedom and equality. For another, in support of this claim, unlike the 1960s, today there are information technologies that instantaneously connect people at local, national and international levels. It is getting harder and harder to hide the truth and sell a lie instead.

Anyway, today President Barack Obama will address another crowd and the American people from the place where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood when he delivered his immortal "I Have A Dream" speech. No one knows exactly what the president will say. My guess is that it mostly will be "feel good" stuff about standing on the shoulders of giants and that sort of thing. But that's all right. I know the man is a great speaker, I just hope he is a great listener.

I also know that Dr. King would be very proud to see that America has elected her first African-American president. That is something he would not have been able even to dream in 1963. But that is really less important than the fact that, as represented in the crowd expected to gather at the Lincoln Memorial today, although Dr. King is dead, the dream is still alive.

I can almost see Dr. King now, not at the podium, but in the crowd, unrecognizable, maybe even wearing a hoodie. And his marvelous voice would be among the chorus of voices raised to speak truth to power, to citizens everywhere, and to the world: "No justice. No peace!" Thank you, Dr. King, for giving us a loving shove, and for moving America closer to her promise.

Have a nice day.

Anderson resident Primus Mootry is a retired school teacher. His column appears Wednesdays in The Herald Bulletin.

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