While a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington Wednesday was filled with the usual political posturing and empty speeches from congressional leaders of both parties, the most compelling question, and one on the minds of many Americans these days, came from Georgia Democrat Rep. John Lewis.
Lewis, who was severely beaten in the "Bloody Sunday" voting rights march in Selma, Ala., in 1965, talked of how that march on Washington brought us together as a nation and helped move the country forward.
"What would it take for us to come together and make that kind of progress for America once again?" Lewis asked.
Indeed. Some would say unity of that magnitude, when people came together to push Congress for passage of the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act, and when the words of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's dream rang out across the nation are beyond our reach today.
Democratic leaders speaking at Wednesday's ceremony used the occasion to attack Republican efforts to change voter laws in some states where they hold a political advantage. The laws, they say, only serve to make it harder for minorities and others to vote. Republicans say the laws are needed to prevent voter fraud, yet they cannot provide examples of the widespread voter fraud that they claim is problematic, or show how their laws which make it harder for many legitimate voters to cast ballots will resolve the non-existent problem of voter fraud.
Sure, voter fraud happens. Two Maryland women this week were charged with voting more than once in the 2012 presidential election. But it doesn't happen on the massive scale that some Republicans would have us believe.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told the crowd Wednesday that the march inspired him to organize for change in Kentucky, and that he worked to help his boss, a U.S. senator, overcome opposition in Congress to help pass the Civil Rights Act, according to an Associated Press story.
Equality for everyone is a cause that we should be able to, as a nation, rally around and support with all our efforts.
The actual 1963 march took place August 28, but Congress held the ceremony this week because it is taking off on its month-long August break. Other events that commemorate the special day are planned in Washington, including a march on the actual anniversary.
With Congress on break, it is a good time for us to all come together, recall King's dream and pledge to do our part to make it a reality.