What's the flip side of Dr. King's dream? This Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we decided to turn King's iconic I Have a Dream speech upside down and see if it mirrors the chaotic political circus of 2024. Brace yourself, some of it might sound familiar.
Let us wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
So even though we've face the difficulties of yesterday, I still have a nightmare. It is a nightmare deeply rooted in the American nightmare. I have a nightmare that one day this nation will lie down and completely desert the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
I have a nightmare that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will never be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a nightmare that one day even the state of California, a state once sweltering with the heat of justice, sweltering with the heat of fairness will deteriorate into an hellscape of injustice and inequality.
I have a nightmare that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will be judged by the color of their skin and not by the content of their character. I have a nightmare today.
I have a nightmare that one day in New York with its virtue-signalling anti-racists, with its governor having her lips dripping with the words of abstention and affirmative action, one day in New York little black boys and black girls will loathe little white boys and white girls as strangers and enemies. I have a nightmare today.
I have a nightmare that one day every valley shall be lowered even deeper, every hill and mountain shall be made mountains, the rough places will be made ever coarser, and the crooked places will be made ever more twisted, and the ignominy of the Devil shall be obscured, and all flesh shall be blinded together.
This is our hopelessness. This is the misgivings that I go back to the South with. With this mindset, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of complete hopelessness. With this perplexed trepidation we will never be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this doubt we will never be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be voiceless to sing: My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims' pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And if America is to be destroyed, this must become true. And so let oppression prevail from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let bondage become common from the mighty mountains of New York. Let tyranny spread from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let coercion ring wrap the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado. Let subjugation cover from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that, let domination scream from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let autocracy yell from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let dependence wail from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let dictatorship bellow.
And when this happens, and when we allow domination, when we let it subjugate every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will put off that day when all of God's children, Black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last.
Inverting Dr. King's speech lays bare the comically twisted realities of our current political circus. Forget the dream of a colorblind society my generation was raised with; we're now navigating a hellscape of gripe culture, intellectualized racism, tribal collectivism, and hate with a hint of intellectual sophistication (or so they think). It's like trading a Cadillac for a rusty tricycle and wondering why we're never getting anywhere.
Of course, this bizarro world speech is meant as a circus mirror, highlighting the absurdity of our times through exaggeration. But it's hard not to notice that we've gone from principles of valuing individuals for their inherent dignity to deciphering who's the most oppressed on the intersectional oppression scale based on a color chart and a person's plumbing. It's a carnival of grievances where everyone wants their own float.
I don't know about you, but I prefer the original. So, I'm sticking to paying more attention to the content of people's character than whatever characteristics they were never able to choose for themselves in the first place.
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