Posted on June 13, 2012
Equality – Citizen by Citizen
Equality among citizens is the root of the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution.
Of course is started out being land owning males but eventually we expanded that limitation. Monumental was the Emancipation Declaration. And there came a time when women too achieved a legal position allowing them to vote. Again the boundary of who enjoyed rights was moved to embrace more and more citizenry.
From those clusters of religiously persecuted people arriving on these shores in order to throw off the oppression of their countries of origin it was a chance to throw off the millennia old rule of blue blooded kings and queens.
It is a little known or appreciated fact that among the sources of inspiration to the founding fathers were the First Nation tribes of the northeast. The egalitarian society of the misnamed Indians abetted the notion of equality and stood in contrast to the gentrified land holders already present seeking a leg up in the governance of the colonies.
And so from a rather quiet life here in the suburbs upon the death of a soldier son I took great offense at the attempt by the sitting MN legislature to move an amendment that would in effect deny a group of citizens’ access to the courts. My cause is explicitly to see to it that all citizens are allowed a chance to contest before the courts our laws formed in statute.
Just a few days after notification of our son’s death the Supreme Court ruled that Westboro Church had the right to free speech. Had our son lived to see it, he and I both would have embraced that position by the court. Like them or not, Westboro is comprised of fellow citizens and they have equal protection to speak. The Supreme Court went on to rule in the case known as Citizens United. While I may not like the outcome as a citizen I respect the court’s ruling. For it is law that binds us. It is not creed, not opinion nor personal bias that places us on equal footing. We have courts for a reason.
To the question of equality I wonder why the Equal Rights Amendment fell short of the required number of states to ratify the amendment to our national constitution. How can it be that over fifty per-cent of the population identifying as female still has no guarantee to this fundamental equality written into our MN state constitution let alone the national constitution? Recently women were denied by congressional vote the simple assurance of equal pay for equal work.
Equality is both our past and the trajectory forward as we seek that more perfect union.