In this era of human folly, the natural world conspires to offer a contrast between what can happen to individuals after “All men are created equal.”
As Hurricane Irene postpones a tribute to a great figure of the last century, the dedication of the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, the aftermath of this week’s earthquake brings forward one of this century’s puniest, Eric Cantor.
The rain and high winds will prevent Barack Obama’s eulogy on the anniversary of the “I have a dream” speech Sunday, but the House Majority Leader takes the stage with an “I have an obsession” declaration by announcing that any aid to his district, the epicenter of this week’s earthquake, would have to be offset by cuts in the Federal budget.
“All of us know that the federal government is busy spending money it doesn’t have,” Cantor tells constituents while touring damaged buildings.
Forty-eight years ago, at the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. King told multitudes that “we've 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...that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the ‘unalienable Rights' of ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...’
“Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a 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. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”
Martin Luther King and Eric Ivan Cantor were created equal in America, but they ended up at opposite ends of the moral universe in Washington, D. C.