David Dolgen

I Had A Nightmare

Posted in Uncategorized by daviddolgen on August 26, 2010

I Had A Nightmare
By David P. Dolgen August 26, 2010

On August 28th of 1963, when my father led a thousand of his colleagues to Washington D.C. to hear what was destined to become the most famous speech ever delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial by an inspiring and committed Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., I am certain that he never envisioned a serious return in America to the philosophies and conduct we are now seeing embodied by the likes of the Tea Party, Glenn Beck and some others.

My father worked and fought for social justice, tolerance and economic opportunity for ALL Americans his entire adult life. He believed in it and understood it, not as an intellectual, but viscerally as a free man.

I say “free” because he understood from his experiences as a boy growing up in the Ukraine (which during his childhood became part of the Soviet Union) the dangers of extremism, hate, prejudice, racism and anti-intellectualism. He learned that as a persecuted Jew, a persecuted anti-communist and young man aspiring for a life of religious and political freedom. He found that freedom in the United States. He was the son of immigrants and an immigrant himself. I am a child of an immigrant. G-d bless the United States!

Fast forward decades later, my father stood with over a hundred thousand others rallying for Jobs and Freedom at the Lincoln Memorial along with Bayard Rustin, A. Phillip Randolph, John Lewis, Whitney Young Jr., James Farmer, Roy Wilkins, Rev. Martin Luther King and others. Make certain you absorb and hear the words “Jobs and Freedom”!

Let us remember that the greatest expression and lesson of the March on Washington that day forty-seven years ago was that the purest demonstration of American aspirations and decency is expressed by religious, racial and economic progress –simply put that day as “Jobs and Freedom”.

This coming weekend, on an anniversary of that speech, the so called Tea Party will rally on that “hallowed ground” and with Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and others whose vision of America appears not to be inclusive, but rather exclusive, reactionary and restrictive. Yes, their vigor may in part be fueled by the need for jobs –a bad economy –but their route to power is the exploitation of fear, distress, economic anxiety and worst of all, racialism and anti-American religious narrowness and intolerance. Is Rush Limbaugh a poster boy for understanding, religious and racial tolerance and the expansion and the highest ideals of American society and aspirations? I think not!

My father, marching for a dream, would probably never have envisioned the turn of America against the tide of tolerance and understanding expressed at the Lincoln Memorial that day. He for sure was aware of America’s weak underbelly – its history of slavery, racism, exclusionism, now so obscenely expressed by so many and so openly, but I am quite sure that he would not have imagined that his dream of America’s future would include what his children, grandchildren, and great-grand children are now seeing. This is not a dream! It is a nightmare!!
America, read Rev. Martin Luther King Junior’s speech from that famous day! Embrace it, cherish it and return to that path where all men and women can aspire for a better and inclusive life in the land of freedom, regardless of the color of their skin, gender, sexual preferences and religions – yes religions – including if they practice the faith of Islam!

“We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.
We cannot turn back.”
Martin Luther King Jr. August 28th, 1963