A quarter of a million people were in Washington D.C. on August 28th, 1963 to hear Martin Luther King deliver his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. He concluded by saying, "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." I realize that bigotry and racism is still a significant problem in our country, but I think most people have adopted the "content of their character" as a measuring stick for the people they meet. I think we have come a very long way in our social acceptance of others since I was a boy.
There is still a problem, however. Even when I judge people by the content of their character, there are still many people that I find objectionable. If you hang out in a gang, use and sell drugs, and wear your pants six to eight inches below the top of your underwear - I avoid you. I don't dislike you because of the color of your skin. I dislike you because you're a thug and you dress funny. If you wear badly torn jeans, your ball cap is on backwards, and you haven't shaved since the last time Halley's Comet drifted by, I don't dislike you because you live in Louisiana or rural Mississippi. I dislike you because you are uneducated white trash. (I am disgusted at the thought that two new "reality shows" are about to begin which appear to glorify - or at least justify - the primitive and barbaric lives of drunken rednecks. Men AND women. I'm happy to judge women by the content of their character, too.)
One of the primary reasons I abandoned my Facebook profile was because people who wanted to debate me didn't know the difference between "there", "their", and "they're". I didn't unfriend you because I disagreed with your political opinion. I stopped using Facebook altogether because I was horrified by the number of people who are functionally illiterate. Many people have stopped using capital letters completely. Grammar seems to be completely non-existent these days. I admit that I don't like these people, but that's because I AM judging them - by the content of their character, just as Martin Luther King dreamed that we would do one day.
I hope nobody is shocked to learn that there are many black people that I have a huge amount of respect for, such as Thomas Sowell and Walter E. Williams. My mother used to cut editorials written by Walter Williams out of the newspaper insisting that I read them. "He sounds just like you!" she often told me. I was deeply flattered that she thought so. During Continental Congress 2009 I met Ralph W. Conner who was our expert speaker on the Second Amendment. Mr. Conner is black, and he narrates a wonderful video called No Guns for Negroes which is available on YouTube. Not long after CC2009 I met Mr. Connor for lunch in Chicago. He was excited about my Constitution class, and he and I were planning to work together to promote the cause of Liberty. I was tentatively scheduled to give a presentation at his church, but unfortunately Mr. Connor died shortly after our meeting, and we were never able to execute any of our plans. These are men I admire greatly - judging them solely by the content of their character. Look what has happened to Bill Cosby over the last year or so. It seems that the content of his character is not as clean and pristine as many of us imagined it was. Sociopaths are very, very good and covering up their evil ways. In 2012 I was suckered into moving back to Texas to work on a silver mint project. I wanted to believe the philosophical rhetoric I was being told. Luckily I discovered early on that the whole project was an elaborate Ponzi scheme. Anyone can be fooled. Even me.
How does this discussion apply to you? If you are using cunning and fraud to accumulate other people's property, the content of your character is evil. More likely, you work forty or more hours each week, you take your kids to soccer practice, and then put your feet up to watch a football game. I will grant that the content of your character isn't evil, but - it's not worth writing home about, either. "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Each of us should strive to improve the content of our character every chance we get. Helping the less fortunate, and standing up to confront evil isn't easy, but it's the only way to avoid coming to the end of your life and having nothing worthwhile to show for it.
Please leave a comment to tell me who you admire, and why you think the content of their character deserves recognition.
Lighting the fires of Liberty, one heart at a time!