Republican Sen. Rand Paul will cite Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his response to President Obama's State of the Union address. Paul will warn that white people and black people experience America as two "starkly different" places:
"At home, much of nation still suffers. Dr. Martin Luther King spoke of two Americas. He described them as 'two starkly different American experiences that exist side by side.'
"In one America people experienced 'the opportunity of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in all its dimensions.' In the other America people experienced a 'daily ugliness' that dashes hope and leaves only 'the fatigue of despair.'
"There is a tension that has become visible in the protests in every major American city. As Congressman John Lewis put it: 'There is a growing discontent in this country.'
"I think peace will come when those of us who have enjoyed the American Dream become aware of those who are missing out on the American Dream. The future of our country will be secure when we break down the wall that separates us from 'the other America.'"
Paul deserves praise for being unafraid to speak frankly about the government-initiated violence plaguing minority communities in the form of militarized police practices, unfair criminal sentencing, and overcrowded prisons. Few Republicans have addressed the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner as honestly as Paul. And few politicians on either side of the aisle have worked as hard to build a coalition to reform these issues.