In a happy coincidence, today is not only inauguration day for America's first African-American president but also the national holiday celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
It is the fourth such holiday since the civil rights activist's death that the occupant of the White House is of African-American descent. And that is at once the splendid and tragic core of Dr. King's life:
Without his courage and leadership, without his inspiration of others, a President Barack Obama could not have happened.
Most of the population doesn't remember dogs being set on blacks, lynchings or segregated schools, restaurants and even water fountains.
A whole segment of our society was denigrated daily until Dr. King and his followers pursued the "dream" of a society where everyone was treated equally. They endured the attack dogs, beatings, jailings and even murders until society as a whole couldn't stomach the treatment anymore.
In truth, Dr. King's nonviolent approach and stubborn civility shamed white society into finally treating fellow citizens as human beings.
And, today Barack Obama will lead the celebration of Dr. King's life. President Barack Obama. Beginning his second term as the leader of the free world.
Some dreams do come true.
(Portions of this editorial have appeared previously in The Maui News.)
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.