An Unfinished Symphony

In 1968, Dr. King asked our nation a prescient, urgent, and timely question: Where do we go from here? Chaos or community? In this post-Cold War era of unbearable dissonance between promise and performance, between good politics and good policy, between America's racial creed and America's racial deed, between professed and practiced family values, between calls for community and rampant individualism and greed, and between our capacity to prevent and alleviate child deprivation and disease and our political will to do so, his question demands our 1995 answer with more urgency than ever.

I believe that the overture of our nationhood, the Declaration of Independence, is awaiting its next movement-a movement that is mighty and positive and transforming. A movement which returns us to our founding truths that "All men are created equal" and "are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights," among them "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

The ensuing centuries of struggle to extend these truths to women, racial and other minority groups, and children must continue, especially in this time of national moral confusion, family and community breakdown, economic fear, and political volatility. If we are going to prevent America's dream and future from becoming a nightmare, we must not sign any new political "contracts" before we review our Old and New Testaments and our American covenant.

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Sojourners Magazine March-April 1995
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