01/19/09 — Still dreaming: There is still more work to be done to fulfill potential

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Still dreaming: There is still more work to be done to fulfill potential

There are some who might say that the election of a black president means the world Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned has finally come to pass.

And in some sense, this nation has made enormous strides toward racial equality.

But there is work to do in several other areas that were also important to Dr. King -- and goals we should remember as a nation as we mark this holiday.

Dr. King called for responsibility, unity and service. He sought a world where people of all races would work together to make a better nation and world -- and one where men and women would take responsibility for their destinies as well as the health and happiness of their families.

And like it or not, we are not there just yet.

As we spend the rest of today remembering Dr. King's message of hope and his call for action to all races, we should also think about the next step, the next hurdles.

And, for many people, those center around personal responsibility and caring for their families and their neighbors.

In the world Martin Luther King hoped for, there would be fewer out of wedlock births, less divorce and more people making choices that do not involve drugs, crime and other less than desirable pursuits.

There would be more people taking advantage of chances to create their own happy endings for their lives through education and hard work.

And there would be more communities taking care of their youths -- no matter whose family they belong to.

Those are issues that do not just apply to any one race. There are challenges for all.

But if we are truly going to see the day when we can say the dream has been realized, we are going to have to face the fact that the work we have to do now might actually be harder than defeating prejudice.

Dr. King would be proud of his country today. And he would believe today as he did then that this is a nation that can overcome any obstacle.

Now all we have to do is prove him right.

Published in Editorials on January 19, 2009 10:50 AM