A bunch of white guys got together a while back and decided they wanted to take over a different part of the world; recreate it into a place where everyone could live in peace. Different races, cultures, genders and beliefs creating utopia. Thus the Great American Experiment was born.
That may be paraphrasing a bit but you get the point.
We have a tendency to view this country’s origins by believing something that was never true. Despite the poetic words in the Declaration of Independence, the self-righteousness of the US Constitution, the pride that comes every July 4th, and the mystique of the Statue of Liberty equality and civil rights have always just been empty words, broken promises, unfulfilled dreams.
America never offered true equality and full civil rights. One or more groups have always held down others in order to rule and pat themselves on the back in public displays of self-congratulations for creating a super power far superior to the rest of the world.
Men were superior to women.
White’s superior to those of color.
Christians superior to other faiths or those with no identified religion.
Americans superior to everyone else.
The wide gulf between what America claims to have created and what they actually did only increased through the years until we must admit this experiment in equality is over.
The first truly big crack was arguably the 1800s Civil War.
The first big acknowledgement of the lie came at the 20th century’s beginning with the “Separate but Equal” doctrine. A public admittance of the arrogance that had always been lying below the surface.
Early 1900s saw women getting the right to vote; a big concession from men who always believed they were more capable of making complex decisions beyond how to boil water. Native Americans, the original citizens BEFORE those ambitious white guys showed up, received public recognition of that citizenship stating they deserved the same status as the immigrants who had taken it from them.
1950s and 60s saw African-Americans start to gain ground in that pesky equality thing that was being piecemealed out as America slowly tried to make good on that public persona created a while back.
1960s and 70s saw women fight for more than just the right to vote; they wanted a public acceptance of their role in society.
20th century ended with everyone feeling good because equality was a reality. All Americans regardless of gender, culture, religion or color could vote, work, own property (not people), and get their slice of the American dream through hard work and determination.
21st century started off with a bang, unfortunately quite literally with the War on Terror. We’re back to not everyone being equal but not admitting it.
- Only those born here and who are at least 2nd generation, provided their parents arrived legally, should be allowed to vote and have valid citizenship.
- We don’t want immigrants. (Ironic considering ‘America’ was founded by immigrants.
- We don’t want non-Christians thinking they’re equal to Christians.
- We don’t want women thinking they’re equal to men.
- We don’t want people of color thinking they’re equal to whites.
- Do you really want me to mention the LGBTQ group? That will push you over the edge.
We are at a precipice facing 2 choices:
- Be honest and admit the Great American Experiment is over because it had a flawed hypothesis
- Be honest and admit you want this country to have an official language, culture, belief system, specialized rights, etc.
Admit equality only exists inside the pages Thomas More created. Stop dangling it like a reward only to beat us up with it later when we refuse to conform.
Disclosure: I’m from a family of immigrants. I’m Bisexual. My husband is a 2nd generation Mexican. We have 2 daughters with Autism. We’re proudly part of the group NOT considered equal by today’s standards.