Below is a parody I wrote of a very famous speech. I think it is applicable considering what is going on in America today and with an election coming up. I think the author would approve, too.
Over Two hundred and thirty years ago, some great Americans, in whose symbolic shadow we stand, signed the Declaration of Independence. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of people who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It comes as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. Today, we must face the tragic fact that we, the people are still not free.
Two hundred and thirty years later, the life of the average American is still sadly crippled by the manacles of fear and the chains of injustice. Two hundred and thirty years later, the average American lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.
Two hundred and thirty years later, the average American is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.
In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. 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 fall heir. This note was a promise that all its citizens would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as all her citizens are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given its people a bad check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquillizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of fear into the sunlit path of opportunity. Now is the time to open the doors of this opportunity unto all of God’s children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick-sands of injustice to the solid rock of freedom and justice for all.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the American people. This sweltering summer of our discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality in this country. Two thousand and seven is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the American people needed to blow off steam in 2006 and will now be content, will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until its citizens are heard and granted their Constitutional rights in full. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice for all and not just the rich emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and partisanship.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into verbal assault. We must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as every American does not vote or believes he or she has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to your homes, knowing that this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, 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 all Americans will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day America will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that our children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin or how much money their family has, but instead by the content of their character.
I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day the United States of America, whose president’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where all our children will be able to join hands with each other and walk together as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to you America. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true.
So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi.
Let freedom ring from the fruited plains of the Midwest.
Let freedom ring from deep within the heart of Texas.
From every meadow or mountainside, let freedom ring out loud.
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black and white, Jews and Muslims, Christians and atheists, old and young, rich and poor, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual hymn, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”