- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 16, 2001

Despite racial dividers, King's dream endures

Though Martin Luther King Jr. was an imperfect man, he pursued a dream that captured the imagination of all Americans of good faith. He dreamed that all men would one day be judged not by the color of their skin, but by their character. We should celebrate this great vision of opportunity, racial harmony, and justice.

Unfortunately, that dream has been distorted of late by personal ambition, racial division, bigotry, and an exploitive industry based on perpetuating victimization. The dream of King's has been drowned in a sea of egos and publicity seekers. Foremost among these is Jesse Jackson, the self-proclaimed protege of King's. Another is Al Sharpton, who preaches and incites hatred, if not out and out race war. Some members of the Congressional Black Caucus are now far more intent on inflaming racist fires among their own constituents than they are in finding real solutions to real problems. Slavery has many faces and among them are dependency, hatred, and a prison of ideas where there is only one way to think and to vote.

It is sad to see what has happened to King's profound vision. Imperfect men become little men when they choose petty dreams over great ones, when they choose hatred over love, and racial division over harmony. There is still racism in America that needs to be eliminated, but the real tragedy is that leaders such as Mr. Jackson are doing no less to incite, promote, and perpetuate racial division and victimization than have white supremacists.

The good news is that still some men, though imperfect, have chosen to pursue great dreams. Secretary of State-designate Colin Powell, from an immigrant family in the South Bronx, holds high the banner of hard work, intelligence, character, and decency that has made him one of the most respected men in the world. And Mr. Powell is not alone. All over this nation there are doctors, teachers, lawyers, social workers, businessmen, scientists, pastors, policemen, and high-tech experts who are living out the great dream that King envisioned. In his honor we should celebrate these men and women, and not those who would proffer and perpetuate racial division. And we should all remember that we must go much further to reach out to the disadvantaged and needy, but never again define disadvantage and need by color.

GRAYSON ROBERTSON

Brentwood, Tenn.

Clinton speech cites self as inspiration

In your Jan. 14 article "Speeches cite God," you report that ever since George Washington gave homage to God in his inaugural speech, presidents at 51 of 53 inaugurations have done likewise. Of the 21 inaugural speeches you quote, one stands out. Twenty of the speeches include either a credo that "I believe" in God or include a form of a prayer to God. The last one you quote however, from the inaugural speech of President Clinton, does neither.

"When our founders boldly declared America's independence to the world and our purposes to the Almighty," he says, "they knew that America, to endure, would have to change." It is worth noting that Mr. Clinton makes no personal declaration to "the Almighty." Though he does mention God, he invokes not him but rather himself as a harbinger of "change."

WILLIAM T. KUMP

Newport News, Va.

Racial politics threatens national cohesion

I applaud Larry Elder, as well as Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams. In his Jan. 10 Commentary article, "Two showing grace under fire," Mr. Elder calls for an apology, or better yet, a round of applause for the reasoned work of Mr. Sowell and Mr. Williams in battling the "victicrat" mindset. It is encouraging to see men stand up against the popular and powerful "race hustlers" with arguments based on facts, data and reason. These men deserve an apology for withstanding baseless personal attacks and a round of applause for espousing ideas that are sound and, if followed, would bring about real positive change for a united rather than a divided America.

Interestingly, I found some sentiments expressed by Georgie Anne Geyer in the article "A bilingual-education dead end," which appeared just above Mr. Elder's piece, to be equally applicable in the context of race. If we follow the "victicrat" mindset embodied by such divisive "leaders" as Jesse Jackson, America will be what Miss Geyer calls "a formless conglomerate of groups bartering for position and privilege." If, on the other hand, we follow the teachings of true heroes such as Mr. Sowell, Mr. Williams, Mr. Elder and Martin Luther King, then America can be "a nation of differing individuals united in the cause of national cohesion" and can avoid becoming "hopelessly adrift in a sea of ethnic islands, dangerous jihad-like icebergs and destructive whirlpools of selfishness and predation."

PETE SYWENKI

Washington

Power crisis should come as no surprise to Californians

When President Clinton declared a national monument over the clean coal of Southern Utah, thereby eliminating an enormous source of power for California, Californians and their government cheered.

When Mr. Clinton protected a roadless area over enormous natural gas deposits in Colorado, gas that could be used to generate electric power, Californians and their government cheered.

When Mr. Clinton's appointees suggested destroying dams in the Northwest that contribute to power generation in order to help salmon (which are consumed heavily by overabundant and unmanaged seals at the mouths of those streams), Californians and their government cheered.

When presidential candidate George W. Bush proposed opening Northern Alaska to oil drilling in order to increase our energy supplies and lower costs, Mr. Clinton and presidential candidate Al Gore opposed any exploration or drilling. Californians decided early on to vote for Mr. Gore.

California and the Clinton administration have prohibited oil drilling and exploration off the California shore.

California has prohibited nuclear power plants and oil refinery construction for years.

California has built enormous propellers in the desert that, while making minuscule contributions to their power needs, kill untold numbers of migratory birds every year.

Now, facing blackouts that are causing high-tech companies to look to relocate, California may pull the nation into a recession. The cause of this potential crisis, we are told, is deregulation, cold weather, price gouging and, ultimately, a lack of government control. If the federal and state governments take control and determine who will produce power and for what price, the logic goes, everything would be fine.

However, if the West is to continue to grow economically and population-wise, more power must be made available. We cannot sit atop coal and natural gas, fail to develop our oil resources and prohibit offshore drilling and the construction of nuclear power plants. Government cannot dictate prices and hope to maintain the free economy that has made this country so great. If we cannot understand that the restriction by unreasonable regulation of everything from refineries to power plants is counterproductive, then we forfeit freedom, our ability to rule ourselves.

JIM BEERS

Centreville, Va.


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