MADISON, Wis. — Fifty years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream Speech” calling for racial equality and economic justice on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross noted how the “divide and conquer” politics of Gov. Walker and the policies he and the GOP-led legislature have pursued are universally antithetical to Dr. King’s message.
He commented, “From day one of this administration, Gov. Walker and the lapdog legislature have followed an agenda that has brought unprecedented strife and division to our communities. And the worst thing of all is that they know exactly what they’re doing.”
Ross noted that among the policies pursued by Republicans undermining Dr. King’s dreams of racial harmony and equal opportunity for all include:
- Slashing funding for public education, the key to lifting people out of poverty, by record amounts while giving away billions in tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations;
- Targeting society’s most vulnerable for punitive budget cuts, like kicking nearly 90,000 people, including a widow making as little as $11,500 a year, off the state BadgerCare program; and
- Undermining the very foundation of our democracy with attacks on voter rights and manipulating the rules on voting to make it harder for minorities to have their voices heard at the ballot box.
“It is sad to think that fifty years later we are moving away from the ideals of justice and equality Dr. King called for in his speech. But we must also remember that he too exhorted us not to ‘wallow in the valley of despair’ over the challenges we face, but to commit ourselves to fulfilling the promise of the American dream for all,” concluded Ross.