Monday, April 2, 2012

If It Means What It Says

It becomes increasingly clear, that there are forces within the United States who are bent on the reversion of our nation to a state of puritanical and parochial existence, such that none may have the inherent, inalienable rights one is born with, save at their whim. At every juncture, at every turn, they seek to tear at the fabric of open, honest liberty with medieval precision, purveying fear, giving in to greed, and fed by self-righteous fury at those who would dare speak against them, as if they come wreathed in unquestionable Solomonic wisdom. They warp the meaning of the hallowed documents that form our nation, to build up their own "patriotic" facade, even as they make  shambles of them, all in the name of American "exceptionalism."

There is nothing exceptional in hypocrisy and being holier-than-thou.

Even now, states across our country seek to limit the rights of women, seek to deny the LGBT community their rights as citizens, and seek to place the imprimatur of Christianity on a nation founded on the precept of division of Church and State. They stand against anything that works toward the benefit of the whole nation, where they would be asked to sacrifice something of theirs to provide for others, a very Christian notion in and of itself. They look down upon anyone who does not work, and then look down upon them again when they do. They are prepared to take what everyone has worked so hard for and flush it away in an orgy of self-congratulatory fiscal prudence.

It is madness.

Our nation is caught up in a torrent of bigotry, racism, sexism, narcissism, homophobia, ignorance, and blind hatred the likes of which could be seen during the Dark Ages. A nation founded on individual freedom and liberty, steeped in the expansive leanings of The Enlightenment, built to give its citizens full power and faith in their government, is being wrecked, internally, by covetous, pandering, fear mongers who are determined to drag the bulk of the citizenry before their version of God and pass sentence, denying us our legal rights and trampling on the precepts of democracy in the process, all in a vainglorious attempt to prove their piety.

This iteration of our nation is nothing that Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Hamilton, Washington, or any of the Founders would recognize as a product of their handiwork. The trappings would seem familiar, but the atmosphere in the halls of Congress would lead them to believe that bedlam had replaced discourse, and that the "united" in "United States" was being paid lip service in the name of partisanship and self-righteousness. Even among the many, varied, and sometimes divisive opinions held by the Founding Fathers, consensus could be reached for the good of the whole nation, or it would not even exist.

If the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States mean what they say, that we are a nation conceived in liberty, that the general welfare is paramount, and that the rights of the individual are inviolate save where the greater good of all citizens is involved, then the current wave of right-wing attacks on individual liberty and freedom goes contrary to what this nation is supposed to be. We recognize that each of us has the right to be who we are, and make decisions for ourselves, save where there are larger considerations. Our nation cannot become slave to narrow-minded thinking, to muddled intellect, to religious fervor, to absolutism, like so many other nations have. Our flexibility, our diversity, our strength of purpose, are our greatest assets; where we fail as a nation is in denying them.

No woman should be told what she can and cannot do with her body by another person. No two people -- where the government says it holds the right to so legislate -- should be told they cannot seal eternal love for one another in matrimony. No black person should have to walk down the street in fear that they will die for no greater offense than to have been born with their skin. No immigrant to this nation -- here legally or not -- should be treated as less than a human being solely for the desire to provide a life for their family. No person, of any stripe, should be told that because of who they are, they may not take full advantage of all the rights and privileges of American citizenship. No American citizen should be denied the right to vote, merely because they cannot produce an ID card.

If the words that were written in support of our nation mean what they do, then it is time to stop the witch hunt, time to bring down the prejudices, time to rectify the injustices suffered by so many in our nation, as opposed to furthering and deepening them. America cannot support and defend the cussedness of intemperate and backward thinking any longer. For the nation to grow, we must move forward, ever forward, not remain mired in the past. Stagnation leads to death, and so noble an experiment as America was conceived to be, should not be killed by the very people who benefit from its existence. The hypocrisy must end. Our nation must rise to become the nation it was always meant to be.

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