“If you can develop this ability to see what you look at, to understand its meaning, to readjust your knowledge to this new information, you can continue to learn and to grow as long as you live and you’ll have a wonderful time doing it.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
Now that we’ve wrapped up our first post-pandemic Independence Day festivities (or nearly so – 200 deaths per day nationally would indicate that we aren’t out of the woods, yet), I thought that it was worth the historical reminder that our founders were referring to white, male, property owners when they signed the Declaration of Independence. A document whose second, and most famous, paragraph starts:
“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.”
It’s obvious that “all men” did not include women – our rights were a long way away – but it also didn’t include men that had little material wealth (landowners held all the cards – and the privileges), and it certainly did not include nonwhites – be they slaves or Native Americans. True equality, sometimes just acceptance, has proven elusive or the last 245 years. And it has become increasingly obvious that, for some Americans, it’s still a difficult concept to grasp. We need to be better.
Photo courtesy of Brittanica.com