Eleven score and 11 years ago tomorrow in Philadelphia, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence from a distant King and Parliament thereby bringing forth on this continent a new democratic republic, conceived in Liberty, to be governed of, by and for the people.
Four score and seven years (less a day) later, the smoke of three days of battle in Gettysburg, the likes of which the world had never seen, cleared to reveal the last full measure of devotion of those people determined to father a new birth of freedom, forging that Union into a Nation that would not perish from the Earth.
With the back of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia thus broken 150 years ago today in Pennsylvania, Union forces led by General Ulysses S. Grant tore the Confederacy asunder half a continent away and a century and a half ago tomorrow, with the end of the more than six-week siege, and capture, of a Vicksburg on the banks of the Mississippi River, whose population had been reduced to eating rats for sustenance. Most assuredly, more battles had to be fought, especially including General William Tecumseh Sherman’s burning of the railroad terminus and city of Atlanta and Martin Luther King Jr.’s rising from those Georgia ashes a century later to slay Jim Crow; but the die was cast during that Summer of 1863 for a new birth of freedom in Dixie and all across the Fruited Plain that made real the dreams of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and King of the emergence of the most exceptional and benevolent nation the world has ever seen.
Just last week, the Supreme Court acknowledged one of the exceptional results consecrated at Gettysburg, formalized in post-Civil War amendments, affirmed by Civil and Voting Rights acts, and affirmed as realized by the election (and subsequent appointment to the U.S. Senate) of Tim Scott, a son of former slaves, twice to U.S. House of Representatives from the over 80% white district in Charleston, South Carolina, in whose harbor stands the fort first fired upon that led to the consecration President Abraham Lincoln said the world would never forget. No longer, ruled a five-justice majority of the nation’s highest court, would Southern states like Mississippi, that elects the sons of former slaves in greater numbers than any state above the Mason-Dixon Line, have to beg and scrape before a federal Justice Department that exonerates billy club-wielding New Black Panthers bent on intimidating whites and Republicans in the City of Brotherly Love, before they insist that voters produce photo identification, lest votes of live citizens be stolen by the dead in Chicago or the alien in the Lower Forty-Eight.
Yet, rather than rejoice that Blacks register to vote in percentages statistically insignificant from, if not greater than Whites in some Southern states, Democrats like President Barack Hussein Obama, and even heroes of the civil rights movement such as Atlanta’s own John Lewis, assert that the court’s ruling against DOJ pre-clearance based upon data more than two generations old somehow returns the South to Jim Crow and destroys what MLK marched, preached and died for. But what was that Baptist preacher’s dream:
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 this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
“…present King of Great Britain who… [had] erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harrass our People, and eat out their Substance.”
Mike DeVine’s Right.com
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson