“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.”
You may be saying to yourself, “Okay, I know this, but didn’t Thomas Jefferson own slaves?”
Yes he did. Mr. Jefferson grew up on a plantation with enslaved workers and as an adult, owned nearly 200. From Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest:
“As a young Virginia legislator, he unsuccessfully advocated allowing private citizens to free their slaves. Later he introduced a bill barring free blacks from staying in the state. His original draft of the Declaration of Independence included strong language opposing the transatlantic slave trade. As president, he signed a bill outlawing that trade. Jefferson recognized the evils of slavery, but he remained tied to the system and freed only seven of his bondsmen. As an older man, he advocated freeing and returning slaves to Africa.”
On this Martin Luther King holiday and almost 49 years since his death, the United States and the world still has a long way to go to reach equality of all people. It’s been on my mind lately, partly due to current violence and inhumanity that seems to be an unstoppable alien life force. As I was watching an original Star Trek episode Saturday night, I thought about Gene Roddenberry’s vision for our world…that we would get past our bigotry and hate and learn to love one another no matter the skin color, our country of origin, or sexual orientation. Although his Star Trek series would, on occasion, contain hints of sexism and stereotypes, the general message was always clear.
We are one people.
We are essential.
What would the world look like if we only had blue-eyed, blonde people on every square inch of this planet? Not that I have anything against blue-eyed, blonde people, but it would be a boring world and probably one that didn’t see much in the way of invention and creativity. The world could not have depended on one race or one lone faction to create the advancements and quality of life we see today.
Consider the inventions of George Washington Carver (botanist), Lonnie Johnson (engineer who invented Super Soaker) and Frederick McKinley Jones (refrigerated truck systems). What would the planet be like without the contributions of women like Mother Theresa, Susan B. Anthony, Marie Curie, Benazir Bhutto and Malala Yousafzai? What place would this be without the LGBT community and those who have made a difference in society’s history – Leonardo da Vinci, Barbara Gittings, Harvey Milk, James Baldwin, Bayard Rustin, and Barney Frank? How boring for us if the world did not contain men and women, people of ethnicity, people of different sexual orientation and religions, people who love music, people who love to write, people who love to invent, and people who love to serve other people?
We are one people.
On this Martin Luther King Day, consider what I have written here. Do you want a world of sameness and non acceptance or one of a large melting pot that loves all, treats each other with unending kindness and sees one people on everyone’s face?
My God did not make any one person better than the other. We are all equal in His eyes, all his children, all deserving of his grace and love.
I urge and encourage the world to learn about humanity and how we all put our socks and shoes on the same. I urge and encourage the world to embrace democracy and freedom. I urge and encourage respectful and two-way dialogues, not singular diatribes. I urge and encourage every single person to treat others as they want to be treated, without stipulation – that includes those without socks and shoes, those without democracy and those without the freedoms of equality. Make a commitment to be the human that was in Mr. Roddenberry’s future.
“Equality is not a concept. It’s not something we should be striving for. It’s a necessity. Equality is like gravity. We need it to stand on this earth as men and women, and the misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition. It is life out of balance, and that imbalance is sucking something out of the soul of every man and woman who’s confronted with it. We need equality. Kinda now.” ~Joss Whedon~
Be the voice of equality.
Now and forever.
24 responses to Equality
Stevie Wonder’s the man to quote on such a day. God bless him. His song ‘Blackman’ s worth a listen. Happy bank holiday, Mary 🙂
The words of “Blackman” are beautiful and could be a mantra for us all. Acceptance and equality comes from understanding the words and how are lives are changed for the better because of the people who have made it better.
Amen! The world is a rainbow of people, and we’re better for it. We may have come a long way, but we’ve still got a long way to go. May we live to see things improve for our entire cast of characters. 🙂
I hope to live to see positive changes of a greater magnitude, Judy. I keeping believing there will be a significant event one day that will move all of us in a direction toward equality.
Yes. I believe.
This is so very well-thought-out and written.
“the inherent worth and dignity of every person” my church tells me.
I prefer a salad bowl to a melting pot, but I certainly appreciate and value differences, even the ones that make me crazy give me something to ponder and room to grow.
Thanks for believing and valuing the human race, Joey. I know it’s hard to always accept some of the nuts in a salad, but that’s the human way. The point is to keep adding ingredients and find value and goodness in the nuts.
Quentin Crisp and Oscar Wilde are two LGBTQ members who impacting my life for the better.
That’s great to hear! Everyone has something good to contribute to this world.
I took “There is no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years, the dirt doesn’t get any worse.” (Quentin Crisp) to heart!
Yeah, dust as a protective covering is highly underrated!
This is a great post and you picked the perfect day to publish it. I often wonder, as I watch some older Star Trek episodes if Gene would be saddened by our lack of progress. I remember that they continued to address these issues in STNG. Then I wonder if we’re ever going to arrive in that world. I hope we do. I will try to live as if we are already there. Maybe, if enough of us do that, we’ll get there at some point. Thanks for this post.
Thanks Dan. Yeah, the lack of progress saddens me. In some ways, we’ve made great strides with acceptance and in other ways, it feels as though we’ve taken two steps back. I truly believe we can change the world, individually and corporately, by being a loving and respectful example to others. If only everyone would get on board with that same belief…
I keep believing that the changes will happen.
I guess we do not control the pace of progress so we just need to keep working. I enjoyed reading your post.
You are right, Laura! We have to keep working at this, keep going.
“Kinda now.” That’s right and that’s the way. ❤
A wonderful post, Mary. It continues to puzzle me that some people just don’t get what appears obvious to me … respect and equality for all regardless of gender, language, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or colour of their skin.
Fifty years ago when I was of an age to start seeing the world around me and the issues it faced, I believed we were the idealist generation who would make a difference. Sadly, we’re still discussing the same issues today.
Yes – I think Gene Roddenberry would be very disappointed … as would Martin Luther King, Jr.
Unfortunately the people who don’t “get it” either didn’t have a good role model growing up, were taught to hate by others, or simply became self-absorbed to the point of not caring about others. It’s too bad because love, respect and treating others equally reaps a much happier life. I think it’s very sad to spend your life hating other people. What does one gain from that other than a miserable existence?
I agree. It takes a lot of energy to hate and constantly be looking for proof of enemies and mistreatment 😦
So many enlightened folks and yet the oppressive forces are gaining a firmer stance in so many ways. It seems like a Pandora’s Box of unacceptable behavior has been opened. 😔
It’s time to close the box, Cheryl, and keep it closed forever.
I agree. I’m afraid it won’t happen without some finger injuries…