The mountaintop


by Jeff Fecke • When Martin Luther King, Jr. gave that speech, he had no way of knowing he would die the next day. But he had every reason to believe that he could be killed, at any time. King was threatened early and often with assassination, for daring to support the radical idea that people are created equal, and that racism is an offense against human dignity.

And ultimately, he was assassinated, killed for daring to fight for that principle.

Jeff Fecke is a freelance writer who lives in Eagan, Minnesota.In addition to his own blog, Blog of the Moderate Left, he also contributes to Alas, a Blog, Minnesota Campaign Report, and AlterNet. Fecke has appeared as a guest on the “Today” show, the Alan Colmes radio show, and the Mark Heaney Show. Fecke is divorced, and the father of one really terrific daughter. His debut novel, The Valkyrie’s Tale, is now available.

But I hope that King knew, as he gave that speech, that he and those who fought with him had indeed started America down a path of justice and righteousness. That just two generations after he gave that speech, America would have advanced to the point where, one day after the holiday we have set aside to commemorate the life of King, America will inaugurate its first African-American president.

Barack Obama’s presidency does not end racism, of course. It is an important milepost on our nation’s journey to being a truly egalitarian society, but it is only a milepost. We have much work to do. But Obama could not have reached the heights he did — and our nation could not have come as far as we have — without the sacrifice of King and so many of his contemporaries. We are not to the mountaintop, not yet. But we are closer today. And I like to think that if he was alive today, Dr. King would be very proud of what he helped our country accomplish. Certainly, those of us alive today — no matter our race, creed, or color — have every reason to be grateful for the sacrifice of Dr. King.