It’s been 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. bestowed on us his now famous speech, “I Have a Dream.” The changes that have occurred since then seem like baby steps when you take a good look at the American racial landscape today. Yes, we have an African-American president, the political makeup on the hill is diversified and changes in local, state and federal policies have been made. But, as you walk through many of America’s neighborhoods, it’s obvious that there is still much that needs to change for America’s neighborhoods are either Black, Latino, Jewish, Asian and so on. Still separated by that which divided to begin with. The so-called progress in closing racial disparities is not so clear given the high unemployment rates among blacks and Latinos, lgbt issues, meager living wages and the “stop and frisk” policies that seem to target mostly minorities. The inequalities of yesterday have gone from one extreme to the next, brushed off to the side of complacency, and continue to deprive many of their dreams.
“…We’ve been quelled by the lullaby of false prosperity and the mirage of economic equality. We fell into a slumber…” ~Marc Morial, National Urban League President.
We have moved from a generation that saw American troops in Vietnam to another that has seen the same in Iraq and Afghanistan. As I looked at a photo of President Obama and former presidents Clinton and Carter, I thought of former president Bush and how he rode swiftly on the coat tails of American sympathy just after 9/11, his reasoning for sending troops into Iraq (weapons of mass destruction) and his often saying, “we will win the war on terrorism.” To believe him was to believe that donkeys could actually fly.
Now with images of dying children spread all over the news and on the internet and talk of the Syrian governments use of chemical weapons, we are once again driven to a moment of sympathy and outrage. On that, we have President Obama calling for military action against Syria (with Congressional approval). Hence, we are left at the steps that lead to Syria’s front door. A country in turmoil, where children dream and parents struggle to support families, no differently than those in America. Yet, I wonder now just as I did when America sent troops into Iraq and Afghanistan, what would Americas role be in Syria. Can it solve Syria’s problems? No, it would solve nothing but serve as another vessel for terrorist growth, create more anti-American sentiment and add to the loss of innocent lives (the latter will occur with or without U.S. involvement but at a greater number with involvement).
In the end, in good conscious, we have to ask ourselves, do we sit idly by and just watch or do we show some manner of resolve? And if we do, is it really for moral reasons?