Jul 05

Our Responsibility

My idea of justice is equal opportunities for all. No one person is different than the next, and everyone should be treated as such. A man and a woman are equal and should always be considered so. Regardless of race, creed, or sex, everyone is entitled to being treated like they are a human being. That should not be an object of contention. The only place it should be is in the court of law for crimes against humanity. If you sink lower than low, prove you're not worthy to be called a human being, again and again, then only mercy can save you if you've hit rock bottom and kept digging.

The wrongs I have seen are those today - the issue of the separation of children at the US-Mexico border, the treatment of women and children in war-torn countries, the destruction of animal habitats and poaching, and so many more. There are serial killers taking human lives without mercy, hunters driving species to near-extinction, child sex-slave rings among those in the 'higher class'. I was not alive when Stalin starved the Ukrainian people. I was not alive when Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge slaughtered Cambodian citizens. I was not alive when apartheid was still in place in South Africa. Every one of those is unforgivable. But they are true. Citizens were separated based on the color of their skin in South Africa. If you were defective, you would be slaughtered in Cambodia. If you lived in the Breadbasket of Europe and refused to give up your farm, you would starve to death. Perhaps none of the issues I have mentioned happening in the past happened in the United States, but history repeats itself.

America deserves to take pride in the fact they are a free country. July 4th is a time for your heart to swell as you thank the fallen for their sacrifice - for you to be safe in a country that loves you. However, it's also important to remember what happened to make it so - the Trail of Tears, the extensive slave plantations down South, the Revolutionary War against Britain. You can never forget what shaped you, lest it destroys you too.

You are free when you step into America. You are free to walk wherever, within reason. You are free to buy whatever, within reason. You are free to say whatever, within reason. You can only do things 'within reason' because doing so outside of reason could threaten the safety of you or others. No, you can't say that there's a fire when there isn't - you are wasting valuable time that may have been needed to save people who actually needed it. No, you can't buy a slave from Thailand over the Dark Web - you are infringing on the rights of others when you should not be. Hell, you shouldn't be trying to buy a slave in the first place. No, you can't walk into that courtroom whose jurors decide the fate of a man, you can't walk into the President's private condo, no, you can't walk into a crowd of people with a lit grenade. There's both privacy of other people and safety to think about. You are not the only person in the world and you should not believe you deserve better than anyone else for any reason.

I love the fact that I have a home. I am happy that I have family members fighting to protect it because they, too, are proud. I am glad I have a family who loves me, friends who like me. I am grateful for the fact that I can go to school, that I can learn to play an instrument, that I can learn in a clean environment. I am thankful for the fact that I have clean water, fresh food, and a sanitary place to eat and cook. 

I know that many people do not have what I have. I am not a selfless person. I want to be, so badly, but all I can give is a hug and kind words. That's what I think everyone should do. Be kind. Appreciate others. It would only happen in a utopian society, and that is not the society we are destined for. How can we become a perfect diamond when we are a cracked, unpolished ball of ceramic? A hopeless comparison with one answer - we can't. You can't change who you are, as much as you may want to. 

But you can change the land under your feet, the words in your mouth, the air in the sky. You can change anything but yourself. And that's what I believe America needs to do, needs to have happen to her. The bias favoring women over men in divorce court need to change. The stigma against people of color needs to change. The persecution of anyone that is not your skin color needs to change. 

We need to look up, America. See the sky. We need to stop looking at the ground and wading in the mud. We have wings, rusty from disuse. If we brush off the hatred, racism, and sexism from those wings, we can soar like never before. We can reach the sky, touch the clouds, feel what it's like to be truly free. Once we're in the clouds, we can help others. Those with more rust on their wings, those whose wings have never even fluttered. 

Besides, what's more selfless than helping others?