“I have a dream…”

“I have a dream…”

On the birthday of Martin Luther King we should recall his most enduring speech; the historic “I Have a Dream” speech delivered in August of 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

King’s eloquent call for the end of racism in the United States, delivered to over 250,000 supporters, was a defining moment in the Civil Rights Movement. That inspiration led King to become the century’s most iconic American civil rights leader and pacifist.

In that spirit I want to share a dream that I had.

I’m not being facetious. I have a recurring thought/dream to share as an olive branch toward the contentious arguments that have infected not only our political system, but our entire way of life.

In my dream a new trend begins.  Although this trend takes off immediately in my dream, I’m realistic enough to accept that it will take time to flourish in the real world. I’m hoping it can grow from grassroots to eventually become a national, even worldwide, phenomenon.  My wish is for this trend to influence not only the way we communicate, but actually change the way we live.

What is this trend? It is simply this- we all start telling the truth.

That’s it. Telling the truth.

Not only the truth, but admitting when we’re wrong or when we’ve made a mistake; changing our minds when we’ve been presented with better evidence.

Sounds simple enough, right? The truth is, however, I rarely witness anyone change their mind or even admit that they may have been wrong about a position they’ve taken, particularly in politics.

In my own experience I’ve identified Internet smears that circulate from mass-emails to propagate hearsay or myths, and I’ll send out a link with more complete and reliable information that may contradict what was being passed around. Then wait patiently wait for responses that considered the new information

I never get any.

Sarah Palin may be old news, but a good example of how this can work happened a dozen years ago. I had repeated on Facebook an often quoted position (from my side of the ideological aisle) that Palin believed dinosaurs and humans walked the earth at the same time.

No sooner had I posted this when I was persuaded by a friendly Facebook foe to look into the origins of that position.  It turned out that those “quotes” were made up in order to perpetuate the perception of her as a religious extremist and a non-intellectual (the entire story stems from a a single alleged interview with a Wassila, Alaska resident named Philip Munger).  I stood corrected.

I often get into debates regarding taxes, welfare, economics, and other issues, and my resolution is to dig even deeper, not only into my positions, but the positions of those I disagree with. My motive is not simply to substantiate my own beliefs, but to also understand the genesis of opposing beliefs.

Too much information can be passed erroneously on the Internet and on politically biased websites that cull “facts” from hearsay, but if a person is sincerely dedicated to the truth, and not just confirmation bias, resources are out there.

Will we ever hear, “I stand corrected” in a political debate? If we did, would we respect that candidate’s candor and honesty or would they be castigated for “waffling” or “flip flopping”?

Can politicians, candidates and constituents admit to drawing false conclusions when presented with evidence that contradicts their previous beliefs?

Can the body politic become willing and able to challenge, investigate and change long held beliefs?

Trust me, I’m not suffering from soul searching self-doubt toward my core socio-political philosophies and positions, but I am questioning the ability of all of us to open our minds to better or more complete information. I am challenging myself to go further and look deeper and I’n challenging everyone to do the same.

Let’s use the legacy of Martin Luther King, whose words inspired integration, as a platform to integrate truth and genuine integrity into our public discourse.

I don’t expect many hard fought opinions to change overnight, but from the ability to at least open our minds, the soil of knowledge becomes more fertile for truth and reason to spring forth.

Published by gary1164

I'm an advertising executive and former actor/producer