There are some ideas that appear to be universal. Treat each other with respect and dignity as a human being, tell the truth, do not lie, do not steal and love your family to name a few. These principles sound eerily like the Ten Commandments but that is for another post. I would like to spend a couple minutes talking about equality.
Merriam Webster defines equality as “the quality or state of being equal.” Young children are exposed in school to a mechanical equality in the form of 2+3 = 5. The left side of the equation has two items ( the 2 and the 3) the right side of the equation has one item ( the five) but when compared in an addition problem they are truly equal. Society has taken this difference and said you cannot be equal unless you meet a brevity of conditions. We also learn in this simple math problem you can do anything mathematically you would like to one side as long as you do the same to the other side. This keeps the balance of the equation true. Does our society actually want equality?
Let’s take for example a simple state or government form. One of the questions you will be asked is your ethnicity. Why would you need information about my ethnic origin if all men and women are equal? The argument is not all men and women are treated equally in America. How do you tip the scales of what is just to make everyone equal? In America we are guaranteed opportunity, we are not guaranteed success. Yet, it appears there is a mandat to make all Americans successful, regardless of the effort put forth. Is this the equality that we are having demonstrations about on our college campuses? Does affirmative action actually level the playing field or is it just another form of inequality to a different group of people? Being “fair” is a slippery slope that should be thought out and discussed in great detail.
Our immigration laws of course need to be revamped. The question I would ask: is it fair to allow some in illegally while others are lawfully applying for citizenship? The next time you are at a checkout counter, let the cashier bring somebody from the back of the line, bypassing all in line and service them first. Maybe fairness looks different when it is personal. Freedom of speech should be a staple of equality but at our colleges across the country, if you do not promote the message embraced by the young students they will shut you down, many times with physical violence. Is this the equality you are demanding in your demonstrations?
We have countless statistics that paint a different picture of equality, much different than the one’s those looting and destroying property are advocating. In Seattle, we see a distorted picture of equality. A group has sectioned off six blocks in a city demanding their rights be upheld. What about the rights of the people living in those six blocks that do not agree with the group? Are their rights any less valuable than the group that confiscated their resources? We have a minute segment of our law enforcement that act unseemly, but rather than punishing the perpetrators, instead, we group the whole organization into one convenient stereotype. This is the very bias many are demonstrating against.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a great man in our history. He understood that violence begets violence. When I ask someone to forgive me for a wrong doing, I cannot make up for the wrong that has been done. The only process is to bring about change that will prevent a reoccurrence. I understand the equalities that are present in America but correcting them without forming new inequalities will take thinking and work. Maybe we need to begin with our commanality and work from that point, if you start with differences first, the gap seems to large to traverse. I hope like Martin Luther King Jr. that a man will eventually be defined by the content of his character and not the color of his skin. I am unsure of the methods being used in America today to meet this goal.