236 Years and We've Still Got Work To Do

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"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal," a phrase coined by Thomas Jefferson when he wrote it into the Declaration of Independence in 1776, surely has me furrowing my eyebrows questioningly. I know I'm not alone in my doubt, for the phrase radiates contradiction. In fact, when the Declaration was first published, it was this phrase that caused many Americans to question its accuracy. Abolitionists were superficially concerned with this phrase, as it was quite hypocritical for a nation where due to the color of their skin, people were regarded as property rather than human beings. In 2012, 236 years later, although slavery-free, American society is yet to prove that "all men are created equal." In fact, society today is probably more contradictory to this statement than it was 236 years ago. Although we don't have enslaved people anymore, (at least not legally) equality isn't something that the country is necessarily emanating. For instance, the Trayvon Martin case goes to show the prejudices that people still have today towards African Americans. This is just one demonstration, and while their are countless more, the Trayvon Martin case gained media attention because of the people who want justice, and who want this country to fully live up to the proclamation that, in fact, all men are created equal. Not all contradictory actions of the phrase "all men are created equal" are having to do with skin color and racial backgrounds. Another pressing issue is bullying and discrimination due to sexual orientation. Well, what about the fact that all men are created equal? Suddenly if someone loves someone that other people disapprove of they're not counted as equal? It is a Lady GaGa song, "Born This Way," that reminds us that "No matter gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgender life, I'm on the right track baby I was born to survive." Many people, from GaGa herself to employees at Apple have made "It Gets Better" videos, showing their support for "all men are created equal." If all people are created equal, why is gay marriage only legal in 6 states? All people are created equal... But not if you love someone of the same sex? Well that's what the government is saying. If that's what the government thinks shouldn't they say "All straight men are created equal"? Society is also extremely hard on you if you're not "perfect." The media presents that the only acceptable way to look is like a supermodel, tall and thin. There are few people in the elite Hollywood circle that have beaten the pressure to be perfect, Adele being one of them. Her talent is what represents her, not her appearance. She has basically given society the middle finger, a society that truly doesn't respect that all men were created equal. There are many more ways that the Declaration of Independence's proposition, "all men are created equal," has not been held up, and it is up to the generations to come to live out the dreams if our founding fathers, and make this country truly the home of the free.





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