Letters: King’s ‘Dream’ today

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama helped commemorate 1963's March on Washington this week.
(Jewel Samad / AFP/Getty Images)

Re “The movement continues,” Aug. 29

President Obama was a toddler when the March on Washington took place 50 years ago, but the lessons of that day weren’t lost on him. Given his remarks on Wednesday, it is clear that he was able to internalize the significance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

The campaign to brutally dismantle the civil rights movement in the 1950s began with Southern segregationists. Then, in the 1960s, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover mounted a whisper campaign to demean and delegitimize civil rights organizers. Sadly, there are similar forces at work today trying to destroy the president.

How else can you explain the never-ending “birther” questions or the drive to de-fund the healthcare reform law? But these people don’t carry out their dirty work in the dark of night; no, they are on TV in the light of day. Their goal: to make Obama’s presidency illegitimate.


As to King’s dreams of economic and social justice, we are making progress. The changes he envisioned in 1963 have been personified in Obama. The question all Americans need to ask themselves today is: Where do we, as a nation, want to be in 2063?

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

The Times overlooks the irony of the president celebrating the “Dream” speech by King 50 years ago.

Obama looks ready to excuse U.S. embarkation on yet another pointless war adventure, which would target a government that has never threatened U.S. security. He even distorted King’s remarks about the long arc of history tending “toward justice.”

He didn’t speak of King’s decrying of the military’s descent into a mantra of “revenge,” of which King spoke when accepting his Nobel Peace Prize.


I doubt that the president would go to India and misconstrue Gandhi’s dedication to nonviolence.

F. Daniel Gray

Los Angeles

As a 55-year-old black man, I remember Jim Crow in the South. However, the struggle that King spoke of is more internal than external.

This country has seen families of all races and colors fall into the slavery of drug use, poor job skills, children born out of wedlock and financial irresponsibility. Blacks can’t be lax in holding on to King’s emphasis on personal character.

I have a dream that children of all races will have two loving, married parents at home who push them to educational excellence, spirituality and love for all mankind.

Douglas Hall

Los Angeles

It was both wonderful and amazing to watch the celebration of King’s iconic speech. My heart ached, however, at the sight of the eroded and degraded condition of the steps of the Lincoln Memorial behind the speakers. This is one of our most important national monuments, yet one would think the speakers were addressing a crowd in a developing country.

Nothing highlights so well the current situation in our country: public squalor as we starve our government amid private splendor, exemplified by those Newport Beach residents who grapple with the “issue” of what size mega-yachts will be allowed to dock there without disturbing their views.

Marcia Goldstein

Laguna Woods


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