Sheeler: Martin Luther King's Dream is Global; It's About Citizen Equality

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U.S. Senate Democratic candidate, Carl Sheeler, a Marine Corps vet and business owner makes a convincing argument that King's Dream is at the heart of our forefathers' Constitution's "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" propositions. Our own political divisiveness using choice, same gender marriage and now immigration will leave us behind as other nations pursue enduring global partnerships.

with us or against us

King's Dream is at the heart of our forefathers' Constitution's "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" propositions. Our own political divisiveness using choice, same gender marriage and now immigration may leave us behind as other nations pursue enduring global partnerships. Some argue a utopian society is one where we’re all the same. Some point to countries that are largely homogenous. Some argue for socialism or communism.

Having lived in different cities with culturally and economically diverse populations, leads me to a different conclusion. Our country’s strength will always be the opportunity, if not the responsibility, to embrace citizen equality. Our country’s history has had centuries of fits and starts as different peoples arrived and our population expanded bringing economic growth. Most sought freedoms and economic mobility and still does.

Sadly, toxic resistance to new immigrants, new ideas and new cultures inhibits equality. The worst response is open discrimination. The best response goes beyond acceptance. Such arguments come from minority icons like Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez beginning in the 50’s and 60’s. They dedicated their lives to sensitize us to the notion their fears and struggles were not so different than our own. Today, it’s still education, healthcare, wage and tax policy imbalances. These are “our” problems. Deep inside we understand about our own fears – usually of failing, loss of control or safety.

So amazingly, Dr. King mobilized enough concerned citizens to fill the Washington mall with his now famous, “I have a dream” speech. Why has it been enduring? It replaced our fears with something the sense of hope and dignity that comes with pursuing our individual dreams. In my career, I have had occasions to command large units of U.S. Marines. In the Corps, there are shades of color, but they’re all green and we all bleed red. Most who’ve served in uniform know this to be true. That “connection” builds a durable trust. Our lives depend on it.

We’re definitely at a crossroads in our country. Some say we’re hurdling into an abyss that King, Chavez and many of our fallen have fought to overcome. During the current administration sex and religion have been used as potent political weapons. First, it was the divisive issue of “choice”. I have long held, this judgmental argument reverts back to control and fear leading to discrimination towards principally poor women. This prejudice was followed by veiled “gay marriage wedge issues” by homophobes directed towards a small population of our country. More of the “with us or against us” mentality.

Undoubtedly, as global thinking becomes more pervasive, our planet seems smaller. The European Union as well as Arab, African, Asian and Latin nations all want a slice of the economic prosperity pie. Does it make sense, when alliances ought to be at a premium, our Latin neighbors and their immigrants to our country are becoming political pawns? What’s your dream? Mine is economic growth that values citizen equality and dignity both here and abroad.

Carl Sheeler is a Marine vet, businessman and Democratic candidate for US Senate (RI).

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