I read something today that I thought was interesting. It was said by a man who wasn't even an American and who had only visited the United States on official business. That man was Pope John Paul II.
On December 16, 1997, Pope John Paul II was welcoming the Ambassador from the United States to the Vatican. The Pope gave the Ambassador (The Honorable Lindy Boggs) a little history lesson.
"The Founding Fathers of the United States asserted their claim to freedom and independence on the basis of certain 'self-evident' truths about the human person: truths which could be discerned in human nature, built into it by 'nature's God.' Thus they meant to bring into being, not just an independent territory, but a great experiment in what George Washington called 'ordered liberty:' an experiment in which men and women would enjoy equality of rights and opportunities in the pursuit of happiness and in service to the common good."
He went on to say:
"Reading the founding documents of the United States, one has to be impressed by the concept of freedom they enshrine: a freedom designed to enable people to fulfill their duties and responsibilities towards the family and towards the common good of the community. Their authors clearly understood that there could be no true freedom without moral responsibility and accountability, and no happiness without respect and support for the natural units or groupings through which people exist, develop and seek the higher purposes of life in concert with others."
I find it a little disconcerting that someone that never lived in America and wasn't an American citizen seems to understand the meaning better than most Americans.
This day is not to celebrate a day off work; nor is it about setting off a bunch of fireworks; nor a bunch of festivities and food; it is about the founders of the United States declaring that we would no longer be under the tyrannical rule of the King of England. It is about declaring that 'all men are created equal'. Now I know it took a long time before MOST people were equal in the eyes of the law and that there are still some groups are not equal in the eyes of the law and that as a society, there are still a lot of groups of people that are STILL not treated equally.
I think that if more people would take that time to read and think about the Declaration of Independence, maybe, just maybe, people would be more open to the ideal that ALL men and ALL women, "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".
Now I'm the first to admit that I do not necessarily like a lot of people but I still believe that they have certain rights, deserve a certain amount of respect and equal opportunities. By opportunities, I'm not saying that because a person is a member of a certain race, etc that they should be given special considerations for opportunities. Equality should be the same for EVERYONE. What has happened is that in order to try and promote equality, some groups have been given special privileges/opportunities that are causing other groups to be discriminated against. A good example of this is one group has a special college fund that is specific to a particular race. Now, let another race do the same thing and it is considered racism. By trying to promote the equality of one group, we've become blinded to the idea that we are in turn causing racism and inequalities to other groups.
Critically acclaimed actor, Morgan Freeman said in an interview with "60 Minutes" that aired back in December 2005 that the only way to get rid of racism is to "stop talking about it". "I am going to stop calling you a white man and I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man," Freeman says. What I believe he is saying is that as long as we keep categorizing people in groups by race or groups by religion or groups by sexual orientation, inequality will continue to exist. We are all guilty of saying 'my black friend said' or 'my white friend said' or 'my Jewish friend said' or 'my gay friend said'...during most of our conversations, does it really matter what race or religion or sexual orientation a person is that we are talking about? No it doesn't. We should just say, "my friend said" and stop dividing people into groups unnecessarily. I'm not saying that a person shouldn't be proud of their heritage but a person's heritage shouldn't give them any special rights. Should I go around calling myself a German-American because my family lineage can be traced back to Germany? Heck no!!! Should I be given special considerations or be treated differently because my family lineage can be traced back to Germany? Heck no!!! I'm an American. Should it matter if I'm black or white or brown or yellow or red, etc? Heck no!!! I AM an American. Should it matter if I'm straight or gay? Heck no!!! I AM AN American. Should it matter if I'm male or female? Heck no!!! I AM AN AMERICAN!!!!
"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."
I look at my children and I'm thankful that they do not see people as black or white or gay or straight. They see people as just that people. They don't understand why a person should be treated differently because of their race or religion or sexual orientation or gender. I hope that this is a sign that future generations will truly understand equality and that race, religion and orientation won't matter.
I think I've rambled on enough but let me leave you with this additional thought:
There have been a lot of people who have died and sacrificed so that America can have the opportunity for its citizens to be treated equally. Because of those people's sacrifice, I have the right to post this. You have the right to read this.
Please take the time to consider what the 4th of July holiday is about. Please take the time to consider what equality is SUPPOSE to be not what it currently is being represented as. Please take the time to thank someone who has served or who is serving to protect our right to equality.
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
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, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its
powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is
their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. -- Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove
this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province,
establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as
to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same
absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty
& Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract
Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which
Independent States may of right do. -- And for the support of this Declaration,
with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge
to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
-- John Hancock
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton