It seems astonishing to some younger folks that America once was a place where black citizens who fought for their country in wars, who worked hard, who raised their children to be responsible people would be attacked by fire hoses in the streets of the deep South. They were denied the right to vote. They had to send their kids to separate schools.
Martin Luther King Jr., whose life is today marked by a holiday, changed that, with nonviolent demonstrations, with eloquent speeches, with a passionate devotion to his cause.
And yet today, in the country and in North Carolina, we see evidence that there is a retreat from progress. Voter I.D. laws are in part an attempt to suppress the votes of the poor and the elderly, two groups likely to vote for more moderate Democrats. School vouchers, using public money to allow people to send their kids to private schools, would drain the public schools of resources and likely hurt poor and minority families who count on public education to fulfill their dreams for their children.
Let us hope that on this day, and others, Kings legacy will drown out the bitter bugle sounding retreat.