“I have a dream where all of God’s children are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”  Martin Luther King, “I Have a Dream,”   1963

Forty-five years after these words were spoken, Dr. Martin Luther King’s words continue to inspire Americans from all walks of life.  The fact that the sentiment expressed above was controversial in the early 1960s but now is so universally shared indicates how far our country has come in our quest to implement Dr. King’s noble sentiments.

Dr. King’s sentiment, after all, has been the dominant philosophy of our country, even when the implementation was lacking.  From Washington and Jefferson through Lincoln and through Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement, our country is indeed dedicated to the proposition that all men (and women) are created equal and that everyone should indeed be judged by the content of his (or her) character.  The fact that we can resolve these problems relatively peacefully (Dr. King’s view) without regard to war and revolution is continuing testament to the Founders and the Constitution they created.

The next step is surely for all Americans to feel empowered to act as individuals and not as members or victims of any ethnic, religious or racial group.  The rights granted by our Constitution are given to individuals, not to groups.  Government should never create advantage or disadvantage for any racial or religious group but rather foster an environment where each American can prosper and achieve his or her own goals and ambitions.

In short, if we want to get beyond race, we have to get beyond race.