MY COLUMN: I had a dream

I am sad to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest affront to freedom in the history of our nation.

A few years ago, a great Nevadan, Brian Krolicki, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the state up to compete for the Republican National Convention. This momentous declaration came as a great beacon light of hope to dozens of Fourth Estate slaves who had been seared in the flames of the withering injustice of Tampa traffic jams. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long nights of their captivity in lesser places.

But years later, Las Vegas still is not free of its terrible stigma. Nearly one hundred years after it began, Las Vegas is still sadly crippled by the manacles of prejudice and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, Las Vegas lives on a lonely island of poverty, made poor by dark hearts and terrible myopia. One hundred years later, Las Vegas is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds itself an exile in our own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition that causes us to remain in bondage, unable to compete with other cities as is our birthright.

In a sense we did not get our just due because we failed to cash a check. When the architects of the RNC process wrote the magnificent words of the site-selection committee, they were signing a promissory note to which every city was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all cities, yes, sinful ones as well as purer ones, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of the convention.

It is obvious today that RNC has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as the citizens of Las Vegas are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, the RNC has given all Nevada people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds” because we would not buy the event or cave to your unreasonable demands. But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity on Las Vegas Boulevard South. So we will wait to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot on the Las Vegas Strip to remind America of the fierce urgency of now – or at least 2020. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of conventions for the greatest city of them all. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of anti-Las Vegasisms to the neon path of the Strip. Now is the time to lift the RNC from the quicksands of convention injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of Las Vegas’ children.

It would be fatal for the Republican Party to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of Las Vegas’ discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of less-than-100-degree temperatures. 2014 is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that Nevadans needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the RNC returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Silver State is granted its convention rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of the Republican Party until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for a convention by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. (This, I admit, I find trying.)

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline, much like what you find in a Strip nightclub. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into rhetorical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Nevada community must not lead us to a distrust of all RNC people, for many of our RNC brothers, as evidenced by their presence at The Venetian, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of Las Vegas, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Nevadan is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of RNC brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel (for lobbying), cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities (because they don’t have as many rooms as we do!). We cannot be satisfied as long as the Nevadan’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Dallas Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Nevadan in Las Vegas cannot attend a convention at home and a Nevadan in Henderson believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream and we get a national convention.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow-minded prudery. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for the right city left you battered by the storms of stereotypes and staggered by the winds of RNC brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to DC, go back to Capitol Hill, go back to The White House, go back to Reince Priebus’ home, go back to RNC headquarters, go back to the out-of-touch ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the Nevada dream.

I have a dream that one day this state will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "What happens here stays here."

I have a dream that one day on the Seven Hills of Green Valley the sons of former Nevadans and the sons of former Nevadans will be able to sit down together at the table of political brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Nevada, a state sweltering with the heat of RNC injustice, sweltering with the heat of RNC oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice where Republicans can be free to get drunk and make fools of themselves as is their God-given right.

I have a dream that my daughter will one day live in a state where we will not be judged by our convention facilities but by the content of our pocketbooks.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, in downtown Las Vegas, with its vicious pawnbrokers, with its mayor having her lips dripping with the words of stadia, one day right there in Las Vegas, little Nevada boys and Nevada girls will be able to join hands with little RNC boys and RNC girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every Nevada valley shall be exalted, every rural hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places (and politicians) will be made straight, and the glory of the RNC shall be revealed, and all Nevadans shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to Southern Nevada with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our Republican Party into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go get drunk together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day to hold a political convention.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My Nevada, 'tis of thee, sweet land of Sin City, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers gambled, land of the mob’s pride, from every mountainside, let conventions ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let convention freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of Summerlin. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of Northern Nevada. Let freedom ring from the heightening towers of the Strip!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Mt. Charleston!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of Lake Tahoe!

But not only that; let freedom ring from the Stone House in Reno!

Let freedom ring from the Great Basin National Park!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Nevada. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every Nevada city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, Nevada men and all other men, Nevadans and Texans, Republicans and Democrats, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Nevada spiritual, "A convention at last! A convention at last! thank God Almighty, we have a convention at last!"