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Nominal Equality

by on December 16, 2010

What is equality?  It is a long, hard, struggle that does not end in legal recognition.  The Magna Carta gave landed gentry some rights; rights that they had to fight to maintain over many centuries.  An end to slavery in the Americas meant what?  That former slaves could easily become rich landowners?  That was never the case.  What of suffrage for women?  Are they now equal to men?  In pay, in social value?

Every 365 days we celebrate Martin Luther King Day.  Today is not that day, but it worth remembering every day what he and many other men will tell us.  Our calm president from Illinois – the living one, not the one who built a log cabin – remembered King well a couple years ago.

“Dr. King once said that the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice. It bends towards justice, but here is the thing: it does not bend on its own. It bends because each of us in our own ways put our hand on that arc and we bend it in the direction of justice….”

It does not bend on its own. There are causes left to fight. The Civil Rights Act did nothing except create a law. The Americans with Disabilities Act is just a law. A wise man, long dead, once told an audience of lawyers that the law is to protect and help people. If it is done right, that is what law is for. That alone does not make all laws good, but it reminds us that we are the ones who fight for equality.

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From → On the Dole

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