The foundation of our great nation was based on the premise that “all men [and women] are inherently created equal; built on the idea that all are equal under the law and endowed with the freedom of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. We are free to follow our own conscience, to freely express our ideas, and choose our beliefs according to the dictates of our heart. From the seeds of this ideal sprang the greatest nation on earth, covering a continent in less than 100 years, a model for many other nations emerging from obscurity into the light of freedom and equality.
We paid the price for this ideal with fountains of blood, sweat and tears as we rid our nation from many of the bonds of injustice that have stained society for thousands of years. We eliminated institutional slavery, the suffrage of women, child labor. We protected the free practice of religion. We built industries. We sang songs about our alabaster cities gleaming, undimmed by human tears; what an inspiring vision we upheld. Our heart swelled with patriotism at the sight of our national flag. This represents the vision of freedom and equality. With the vision of our red, white and blue glasses we perceived the world.
These were the perceptions of my youth. With such perception, it was easy for me to see the evils of Adolf Hitler as I learned how he stripped others of life and liberty because they were not of his favored “race”, how he stripped the Jews of their property and all rights solely on this basis and justified it by objectifying them as inhuman monsters and turning the whole of his society against them. He enforced his perceptions of superiority by force, fear, and death. This seems to me the very definition of evil. So great was this threat to freedom and equality that the whole world unified against Hitler, spilling our blood to defeat both him and his world-threatening ideology. Is this not crystal clear to everyone of honest heart?
In contrast, I was greatly inspired by the great human rights leader Martin Luther King and his “dream” that men [and women] should not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character, that good people of every kind would allow their children to play together. This ideal, I believe easily extends to any cultural group, like Christians, Jews, Muslims, Black, White, Asians, Natives, Democrats, Republicans, Leftists, Rightists, Communists, Capitalists, ethnic groups, and so forth. This seems to me to be the very definition of goodness, freedom and equality. The question is: Are you personally willing to live in accordance with this ideal of equality and freedom?
The greatest threat to freedom and equality lies in the polarization that evolves in society when we start to believe that certain groups of men [and women] are not equal under the law. When we see that certain groups are being demonized by society and hated for the terrible and evil acts (pretended or real) that members of their group have committed. For one example, the Nazis felt they were justified to strip the Jews of all rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, because “Jews” had killed Christ, the leader of their religion, thousands of years before. Do you see the trap?
I see this in the news: Police are demonized because one of them maliciously killed a black man. Democrats are demonized because they are enforcing Marxist agendas in our schools. Republicans are demonized because they blatantly disregarded legal elections. Native Americans are demonized because they behaved like lawless savages. White people and industrialists are demonized because they massively oppressed people of color and different cultures. People that refuse to be vaccinated or wear masks are demonized because they are willing to put us at risk. These are only just the perceptions of blanket injustice, and certainly not applicable to all (or even the majority) the members of the groups mentioned. The true demons (like Hitler) are individuals that are willing to use these awful tools to subjugate the world for their own ideology power and gain, resulting in countless human suffering.
Do you not understand that these words and attitudes of “justified” hatred are the stain and filth of bondage and inequality, not the resolution and realization of justice? They only justify the darkest of our desires to destroy, harm, subjugate, and eliminate groups that have been so demonized. They polarize us. Can you see that this attitude is not the seed of freedom or equality? The seeds of freedom and equality yield fruit that is much sweeter, inspirational and satisfying, an embrace of friendship and understanding, forgiveness and tolerance. Let us see more clearly and be personally committed to spread the true seeds of freedom and equality. This will give us enormous comfort and power to find the resolutions to clean our society’s stains and advance in the strength for our whole national and world-wide community.