Pursuit of Rights

OpEdThe world has lost its way; this nation in particular has lost its intent though we should always be wary of setting our sights too high on a moral standard that never truly existed. I was originally going to write in one pithy piece to show, historically the truth vs. myth of this nation. I found though, there is simply too much information to write one piece, too many pivot points where we might have done the right thing and choose differently. Because of social media we can now see daily what has been before us all along. We are witness to the casual violence entwined through our cultural foundation and accepted as normal, even sometimes encouraged as necessary. We, this nation in particular, we have lost our way at every level that is important.

While the Founding Fathers and those who supported their intent certainly had a desire for ‘freedom’ it did not extend beyond themselves or their narrow worldview at the time. Despite the high-flaunting words of the documents that continue to define us today, (e.g. Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States of America, Federalist Papers), there was never any though that ‘all men’ had the ‘right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’. What they meant was, White Men, men of European ancestry, men of property and means. Certainly, there was never a thought regarding the idea that ‘men’ might be a more inclusive term, might embrace ‘all men’ and even women.

The nation, that is the US of A, these divided states, this unfortunate collection of frightened and poorly led humans distributed across masses of land with lines in earth and names drawn from the language of the indigenous people the European invader cheated, robbed, hunted, tortured, murdered and kidnapped. This unfortunate nation, led down paths of patriotism through fear to a misguided belief we are or should be the moral police of the world; that we have an obligation, an edict from God to direct others to do what we ourselves have failed so miserably at within our own land.

What do we think we are directed to do, what is our Manifest Destiny?

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To lead other nations to Democracy and even hallelujah Christianity, Amen and pass rocket launcher.

What have we failed at, do you truly ask this or are you simply curious what I believe our failure as a nation is? I will try to be succinct, I promise you. We lie to ourselves, the most obvious and is when anyone, whether politician or man on the street says stupid things such as:

“America is the Greatest Nation in the World.”

No, no we are not the Greatest Nation in the World. In fact, we are far from the Greatest.

In fact, we did not make the Top 10 on any ‘Best’ list.

We did not make the top of any lists, except these:

This isn’t anything to be proud of, is it? We aren’t doing a great job of building on the foundation laid by our forefathers, those visionaries of the American Dream, or are we? Shall we take just a moment to consider some of their more important contributions to infamy and how we are living up to it even now, nearly two hundred and fifty years later.

  • Slavery — yes this is a good one, the nation was built on the backs of stolen lives, stolen from the continent of Africa, stolen from the arms of mothers and fathers, stolen from their culture and homes; simply stolen. The first slaves were sold into a lifetime of servitude and misery in Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. These ’20 odd’ human beings were the beginning of the end for the nations soul. Here is a bit of history for you, want more go here:
    • 1705, Virginia codifies Slave laws some of which you might recognize today: All non-Christian servants entering the colony are slaves, all slaves are real estate, masters who kill slaves during punishment are acquitted, slaves and free colored persons are forbidden from assaulting a white person, slaves are forbidden the right bear arms or move freely without written permission.
    • 1740, South Carolina passes a comprehensive “Negro Act,” making it illegal for slaves to move abroad, assemble in groups, raise food, earn money and learn to read English. Owners may kill rebellious slaves.
    • 1788, the new nation adopts the Constitution including Article I, which reads in part as follows:
      • ……adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons….
    • 1819, Virginia outlaws, whether free or slave all blacks and mulattos, from meeting for the purposes of education and forbids teaching blacks to read and write.
    • 1837, free Blacks in Pennsylvania and Mississippi lose the right to vote. In New York, they petition for continued voting rights.
    • 1857, SCOTUS renders the Dred Scott decision denying citizenship to all slaves, ex-slaves and descendants of slaves, further denies Congress the right to prohibit slavery in the territories.
    • 1865, Thirteenth Amendment is signed abolishing Slavery throughout the nation.
    • 1866, the Klu Klux Klan is founded in Tennessee
    • 1881, Tennessee passes the first of the Jim Crow segregation laws other states follow and the era of Reconstruction is ended less than a decade after Slavery officially ends in these United States.

A few things to consider in the much-shortened timeline above, Article 1 of the Constitution has never been repealed or changed by Amendment. Though many like to think the Thirteenth Amendment emasculated Article 1 and the Three Fifths counting rule of Blacks held in slavery and ‘others’, the fact is Article 1 remains intact.

Something else to consider as we approach mid-term elections, The Dred Scott decision which in part read as follows;dred_scott

” . . . We think they [people of African ancestry] are . . . not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word “citizens” in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States. . . .” Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, speaking for the majority

The Founding Fathers failed fundamentally in their vision, they failed to understand ‘all men are created equal’ should have meant just that, should have been an inclusive statement if they wanted to achieve their goals. Instead, they built a nation whose cornerstone was bathed in the misery and blood of slaves, not equality, not freedom and certainly not the pursuit of happiness for all men. This touches only on the issues of Blacks in America, I have not dived into the theft of land, destruction of culture and murder of an entire indigenous people, tell me again how you discover a land already populated by millions.

Want to be part of change? Vote. Get up and Vote. Don’t believe what they tell you, Vote. Don’t let your voice be silenced, Vote. We can no longer afford to have more than half our citizens treated as if they do not count, be part of the change, Vote. Save a life, save a child and save a future; Vote.

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