All Lives Matter

…or at least they should…

“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…”

~ The Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, 04 July 1776

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Interestingly enough, the Founding Fathers most firmly did believe that all men were created equal and should possess equal rights under the law (this is despite continuing the rather abhorrent and aberrant institution of slavery).  But what does equality truly mean?  After more than two centuries of democracy, we seem no closer to the ideal state today than we were back in 1776.  Minority communities may no longer be in chains, but they still feel the impact of centuries-worth of disadvantage.  And what of those who enforce the laws?  Like all groupings of people, there are some bad eggs or those who abuse their position and their authority (and the founders certainly had a lot to say about the misuse of power), but do they, as a whole, bear the brunt of the responsibility for the past and present disadvantages present in those communities?  Those that enforce the laws are seldom those who create the laws.  In fact, it is the privileged few in this nation who truly have a hand in crafting items of public policy and public law, and who demand that these laws be enforced.  And yet we demand accountability not from them, but from those they pay poorly to place their lives on the line protecting the communities we ALL live in.

Does equality mean that the many have the right to trample on the few?  We would all say certainly not.  But it also does not mean that those who are few have the right to bring their communities to a halt with violence because they feel ignored and unheard.  There are many,  many, disadvantaged, disenfranchised communities of every creed and color in this nation.  It is a dangerous folly to focus on merely one type to the exclusion of the others.  All that does is sweep a much larger, more entrenched problem under the rug because we are distracted by only focusing on one small part of it.  And that larger problem is that those who make the laws are not very much like those who enforce the laws or those who are obliged to obey them.  ALL lives matter.  And it is up to us to change our governments and our representatives so that they will make laws that represent ALL of us.

Res Publica

Documentation without Representation:

The Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, 04 July 1776

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

Electronic Text Courtesy of The United States National Archives

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