MLK's "I'm Living The Dream" Speech
Editor’s Note: Recently, legislators across the U.S. have initiated new guidelines for public school educators banning the use of literature or history with the potential to make students feel uncomfortable about race or gender. Teachers can also be severely punished for information or lines of reasoning which could be misconstrued to suggest that systemic racism or sexism has in any way shaped the society they live in today. As a service to educators in these evolving, more enlightened states, this well-known speech by Martin Luther King, Jr., has been updated to more accurately reflect state-approved concepts and historical understanding.
Five score years ago, a great Republican (let’s not ever forget he was a Republican) signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This largely symbolic decree verified the great beacon of hope already guiding millions of Negro slaves who had been freed by the fire of American greatness. It came as a joyous reminder of their long flight from their REAL captivity (which started in Africa - let’s not ever forget that slavery started IN Africa) to the glorious shores of America.
But 100 years later, the Negro is even more free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is far better than the manacles of tribalism and the chains of paganism. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a prosperous continent in the midst of a vast ocean of freedom and prosperity…
And so we’ve come here today to celebrate our ever-improving condition. In a sense, we’ve come to our nation’s capital to thank them for the checks. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to agree. This note was a promise that all educators - yes, black educators as well as white educators - would guarantee that everyone has plenty of life, liberty, and opportunities to pursue happiness already and that any claims to the contrary are tragic evidence of how much they hate our founding documents, preferring instead to teach “Critical Race Theory” and Marxist ideologies because what-is-wrong-with-those-people?!
It is obvious today that teachers’ unions and liberal universities have defaulted on this promissory note insofar as BLM and other terrorist groups are concerned. Instead of honoring their sacred obligation, they continue to insist that America has given the Negro people a bad check - a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” Insufficient patriotism is more like it!
But we refuse to believe pretty much anything that contradicts our emotionally manufactured ideologies. And so we’ve come to tell them to run that check through again - no matter how many times it comes back marked “NSF.” There’s plenty in that account! If it’s not clearing, it’s definitely something they’re doing wrong. I’ve never had trouble cashing my check from America, so obviously that’s not a thing that happens...
Now is the time to celebrate the triumphs of democracy. Now is the time to stop pointing out the dark and desolate spectre of segregation instead of the sunlit path of how things worked out for that one black friend who’s doing so well. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of protest to the solid rock of mandated unity and agreement. Now is the time to make justice a reality in the textbooks and lesson plans of all educators.
It would be fatal for this nation to confess it’s own shortcomings. This sweltering summer of the right wing’s manipulated discontent will not pass until there is a serious crackdown on questioning freedom and equality...
There is something that I must say to my people in order to give white folks of the future isolated quotes to use out of context in service of their own bewildering agendas: “In the process of gaining an upper hand via ‘affirmative action’ and liberal guilt, we must not be suspected of wrongful deeds. Let us not satisfy our thirst for justice by drinking from the cup of blocking traffic and damaging private property.”
Seriously, it’s probably better not to even march peacefully or kneel or anything else that annoys white people. I never do.
There are those who are asking their one black friend, are you satisfied? I mean, you seem alright to me, so... you are, right? We should always be satisfied as long as a handful of Negros have found pathways to success in sports, music, or pizza chains, thus proving anyone could have done it if they’d simply made better choices. We should always be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with fatigue, can theoretically vote no matter how long the lines are or how limited the access to water, protection from the weather, or transportation. We should always be satisfied as long as our children are periodically given free lunch at school or granted the dignity of sitting next to white kids in detention.
Yes, yes - we are satisfied, and we will always be satisfied as “justice” crashes over us like a tidal wave and “righteousness” is wielded against us like a mighty club. Sure, some of you have experienced great trials and tribulations, but that’s usually an indication you’ve done something wrong. Other than very rare examples involving “bad apples” who are in no way representative of the masses who support and defend them, when does anything horrible ever happen unless you kinda deserve it?
Besides, suffering makes you creative. It’s redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our Northern cities, knowing that somehow any minor inconveniences you experience can and will build character.
Let us not tolerate wallowing in negativity, I say to you today, my friends.
Even though we may face isolated difficulties from time to time, I’m still living the dream. It is a dream exactly the same as everyone else’s American dream, because I prefer not to divide people by focusing on race. I’m living the dream because this nation has risen up and lives out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men were made equal when a lot of white men died to free them in the Civil War and yet somehow never get a “thank you” a century later.
I’m living the dream because the sons of former servants and the sons of former employers now sit down together at the table of brotherhood. Some of them even have homes in the same neighborhood and that’s gotta be proof of something, right?
I’m living the dream because my four little children have been given the opportunity to live in a nation where they are not judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character - if only BLM and liberal educators would stop trying to make EVERYTHING ABOUT RACE! (That is SO divisive!)
I’m living the dream because state law mandates that every valley be portrayed as already exalted, every hill and mountain taught as if socioeconomic mobility means they could just as easily become low, that rough places will be ignored, crooked places denied via assertive gaslighting, and the glory of the one true Lord revealed in public funding choices and morally-driven legislation.
With faith we will be able to transform the complex history of our nation into a beautiful country song of brotherhood. With faith we will be able to work together (but away from those people), pray together (but not with those people), to struggle together (hey, everyone struggles, so stop pretending you’re the only one who’s had a few challenges along the way when most of us don’t even see color), to celebrate our shared freedom together, knowing that we are all free as free can be today (except for straight white men who - let’s be honest - really have it rough these days... it’s SO unfair).
This will be the day we add yet another bill requiring all God’s children to sing together like they mean it: My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside, let capitalism reign!
America is a great nation. This must be true. (I’ll link to the website where you can report any of your children’s teachers who suggest otherwise.) Freedom rings from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Freedom rings from the mighty bastions of Wall Street. Freedom rings from the prosperous ski lodges of Colorado. Freedom could ring from the curvaceous slopes of California if they’d get rid of about fifteen million hippies and academic elitists. Freedom rings from the prison system of Georgia, in the sense that so much inmate labor is available to the state and local businesses without financially compensating those doing the work.
From every political platitude and state-mandated textbook, let freedom ring!
And when we require “freedom” to ring, when we insist it rings for every ZIP code and every demographic, in every state and every city, and has throughout most of history, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to finally get it together and join my preferred denomination and appropriate the words of the old Negro spiritual: Living the Dream! Living the Dream! Thank God almighty, we are living the dream!