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Letter: Comparing King to King

The Rev. Jim Krapf, Worthington

Iowa Representative Steve King is getting notoriety for this statement that “For every [undocumented immigrant eligible for the DREAM Act] who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weight 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

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Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on this 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, is remembered for his statement: “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.’”

What contrast do you see between these two King quotes? I find the first motivated by fear and the later by hope.

Viewing the movie “The Butler” gave me further insight. Loosely based on the life of Eugene Allen, the fictional Cecil Gaines is depicted as a man who lived with fear. As a boy, he saw his father shot to death in the cotton field for looking at the white man who had just raped his wife. Cecil rose to the position of White House butler by submissively serving whites and never speaking his mind. His son, Louis, is beaten and jailed for demonstrating his mind as a civil rights protester. Because of his fears, Cecil tells this son to leave his house.

A turning point comes when Cecil decides that he no longer wants to live with fear. He reconciles with his son. Together, they live the hope of Rev. King’s dream.

I wish that Rep. King’s fear could be dealt with so that others could be freed from the fear of not being able to provide for their families, from the fear of losing their lives crossing the border, from the fear of not continuing their education and entering a contributing career, and from the fear of their families being separated by deportation.

A turning point could come with comprehensive immigration reform that is fair enough to relieve fears. I would urge you to read the statement written by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros, and former Govs. Haley Barbour and Ed Rendell, who co-chair the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Immigration Task Force. ( They focus not on the dissensions, but on the agreements that point us to a way forward.

Take these steps and we could reduce fear and revive hope, and fulfill the dream we can live together.