Hey America: An Open Letter To The General Public

Hey America,

Land of the free.  What does that mean to you?  Ponder that for a moment while I explain to you what I think.

Freedom: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants (Oxford Dictionary Online).

Being free means having the right and freedom to think and believe the things you do, and live the life you choose.

That means freedom of religion.  In theory, you can believe and practice any religion of your choosing.  Whether you’re Christian, Muslim, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Sikhs, or anything, you can practice you beliefs without consequence, so long as you aren’t harming another individual.

With that kind of freedom comes respect and acceptance.  This is not a Christian nation.  Nor is it Muslim, Jewish, or any one religion.  The term melting pot used to be thrown around a lot for a reason.  BECAUSE IT’S TRUE.

We are a nation of multiple faiths, colors, genders, and cultures.  To run a country based on one religion, or one race, or one gender, or one culture is wrong, and it will never work.  When you choose to base laws off one religious belief, or exclude members of society based on any of those things, that is discriminatory.

Keep your religion out of our public schools.  There are multiple faiths represented in classrooms across the country, and they do not all believe in the same thing.  Faith is not science.  It is faith: complete trust or confidence in someone or something; strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof (Oxford Dictionary Online).

Teach your children about your god, and how the world was created according to your religious doctrines at home, in church, or any other religious place of worship you so choose.  You have that right!  However, it is disrespectful to push it upon other people who do not share your faith, and make it the way of the land.  That’s not going to fly.

While we’re at it, this is also not a male nation.  Nor is it a white nation.  Women make up 50.8% of this country.  Blacks make up 13.1%, Hispanics are 16.9%, and Asians are 5.1% (USA Quickfacts, US Census).  While whites may be a majority, that does not mean they can disregard the lives and freedoms of others.  Women are the majority (barely), but we are still being governed over our bodies, and still earning less than our male coworkers.

When you rule based on one race, gender or culture, dissension occurs.  That is not freedom.  That is an exclusionary culture that has no place in a modern, civilized society.

Wake up, America.  If one of us is not free, none of us are.

Love,

A Tired Citizen Worthy Of True Freedom

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50 Years Later: A Dream Not Yet Fully Realized

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Fifty years ago today, Dr Martin Luther King Jr stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and shared with us his dream for our great country.  It was a fairly simple dream in that all he wanted was equality for all.  He wanted love to rule over hate, and for his own children to live in peace with white families.  So simplistic and beautiful, but has his dream been fulfilled?

In part, yes.  Under the law, everyone of every race is viewed as equal.  My daughter plays mostly with the neighbor kids who are black, and has no concept any difference other than their skin is different colors.  There are laws in place designed to give protections to Blacks in order for them to receive equal opportunities.

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

But racism is not dead.  It’s far from it.  Hate crimes happen every day against all groups within our society.  It’s not just a crime against skin color anymore.  And even with the nations first Black President in office, racism is still flourishing in all corners.  Progress has been made, as is evident with President Barack Obama, but we still has so far to go.

Fifty years later, Blacks, Hispanics and American Indians have the highest rates of poverty with unequal access to the very things that improve and better an individuals place in society, like education and pay.  Inner cities, where minorities are the majority, have the lowest performing and underfunded school systems.  This is also where poverty flourishes.  Women are still fighting for equal pay to that of their male counterparts, as well as the right to govern over their own bodies.  Homosexuals are still fighting for marriage equality, and the same benefits for their families that heterosexual couples receive.  Muslims, and people who are mistaken for Muslims, are hated and discriminated against because of the actions of a few.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

There is no finger-pointing here.  There is plenty of blame to go around.  We all have a share in the progression of equality.  A truly free society, in my opinion, is one in which equality is second nature.  Everybody has the same access to the important things, such as healthcare and education.  Instead of a dark cloud of hatred, a beautiful light of love shines down on everyone.

That may be only a dream, but it’s a dream worth making a reality.  Let’s reflect on the last fifty years.  All the progress, the steps backward, and the path that lie ahead of us in order to reach that dream.  Dr. King’s dream should not go unfulfilled.  His words and actions should be remembered for generations to come, and not taken for granted until his dream has been realized.

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you wish to read Dr. King’s speech, and I think everyone should today, you can find it HERE at the National Archives.  You can also listen to him give his historical speech here in this video: