Each time I read or hear Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech, a different piece leaps out at me. Today, as we come to the fiftieth anniversary of that speech, it’s this:
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
The language of nullification — the thought that state laws can trump federal laws — is still a part of our national lexicon, despite the fact that the Nullifiers lost the Civil War. Indeed, here in Missouri, it’s become a very large part of the state political conversation.