Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Founded on the promise of equality

Was just listening to a clip of Michelle Obama speaking to the LGBT folks in convention, around 2008, I believe. The video was offered up with regard to her saying Kenya was Barack’s home country. I’ve no comment on that issue other than the entire birth scenario has been mishandled by BOTH sides, and without proof one way or another, the issue has been settled; so: “Get over it. Move on.”

But, I was very interested in Ms. Obama's comment that: “…discrimination has no place in a nation founded on the promise of equality.” Is a promise of equality the cornerstone of our Nation's foundation, or is it, rather, a promise of liberty? Was her allegation true? Are equality and liberty the same, or are they fundamentally different concepts?

Words and their meanings are important to me; so, I took the time to revisit the Preamble of our U. S. Constitution. There's the line about: “…secure the Blessings of Liberty…” but nothing about equality was mentioned.

Assuming her reference towards equality must then be in the Declaration of Independence, I took time to read it in its entirety, also. The closest I could get is: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”

So, what I believe was being established was a free state, rather than an equal one. Emphasis from both documents appears to be with regard to liberty. Mankind is created equal; however, it is not the job of government to enforce sameness (rather than equality) upon its citizens but rather: “…being created equal, citizens are free to pursue those opportunities offered by liberty (within the bounds of established civil governance) as they see fit without intrusion from those whom they have consented to determine issues political.”

Our entire Declaration and Constitution are interesting documents and worth rereading to see what was actually on the mind of the Framers. I commend them to you.


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