August 28, 2013 is the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. His daring vision for the future has either come true or not come true, depending on who you are and where you live.
Fifty years is a long time (or a short time, depending on the quality of your life and your general outlook on it). A lot can happen – and has, over and over again. And it’s probably only going to get worse from here on.
If you’re older than 25, you probably have feelings about technology and how it’s hurting today’s interpersonal communication. You might worry about what we’re doing to the environment and the polar ice caps. If you’re older than 80, you might even draw unpleasant parallels between these times and the 1930s. From vaccinations to pesticides to mortgages to the apocalypse, there are things to worry about every day.
I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will get itself out of the recession we are in, and there will be annual raises and holiday bonuses and comfortable living for all – even those who work at a nonprofit. That 20-somethings who graduated with student debt will still have to work hard and set their sights to pay it back, but that paying it back will, in fact, be possible. That there won’t be so many stories reporting that parents can’t afford to buy diapers for their children. That people right and left won’t lose their houses. That people can actually afford houses in the first place.
I have a dream that we’ll all drive electric cars and there won’t be gas stations on every corner, and we won’t drive 15 miles out of the way to pay $.04 less per gallon (which doesn’t really make sense, you guys). That smog will go away, and there won’t be videos of polar bears swimming around in the Arctic Ocean because all the ice caps are melting. We’ll somehow clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and we won’t ever let anything that crazy happen again. There won’t be any more Dawn commercials of cleaning oil off of baby ducks, because that will just be a sad thing that used to happen, but don’t worry, we put a stop to that.
I have a dream that even as technology marches on and everyone gets more attached to their devices (yes, I’m guilty too), we won’t forget to sometimes stop and put down our phones and look each other in the eyes and have an actual conversation. And we will remember to tell our kids that they can’t watch any more TV right now and they have to go outside and build a fort or pretend to be pioneers or fall out of a tree or something (low branches only please). And sometimes the cable will go out and we don’t have any TV or wireless internet, so we’ll all sit together and play Scrabble or tell stories or sing songs or something. Yeah, it’s quaint, but it’s my dream.
This is my hope for the next 50 years. This is my belief, which counteracts the worry. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of peace and brotherhood.
(Thanks to MLKJ, and I know you’re a cool enough guy that you won’t mind the liberties I’ve taken with your elegant words.)