Wednesday, August 06, 2003

why can't all just be americans?

So, when can a person be "just" American? I think it is when we AS Americans see each person who is "legally" American as having the same rights, deserving the same respect, and being treated as equals across the board.

We don't do that right now -- we see division, we act on that division and, in consequence, we make that division disturbingly real. We don't offer the same respect to all Americans across the board. For instance...

1) We deny the opportunity for marriage to "gay" Americans
2) We intentionally profile "middle-eastern" Americans as they could have "terrorist ties"
3) We closely monitor "African" Americans, especially male African Americans as we are constantly reminded of how "dangerous" these men are as evidenced by the disproportionate number of them that are in prison
4) We demean those Americans who are on welfare as lazy, as leeches, as a drain on the, they are unknowingly labeled as "welfare" Americans
5) We treat as second-class citizens, "physically-challenged" Americans.

You get the point. And IMO, all of the legislation in the world will never change these fundamental divisions because it is we AS Americans who need to say, this is wrong, this is not what we are about, this needs to change and then actually change.

Actually, I would prefer to not necessarily abandon national and/or cultural parameters, but at least SEE and realize that humans are humans no matter what form they arrive in. We see Saddam as the anti-Christ; his daughters see him as their father. His daughters mourned the loss of their brothers, we toasted their deaths.

As we know, these interpretations made by these people are context dependent. The question is, which context has more value than the other? Remaining true to SI, one would argue that both are entirely "valid" and neither has more validity than the other. Throw power in there as a dimension, and the Saddam is the anti-Christ is promoted as the RIGHT one. We then invalidate the sorrow and trauma that Saddam's daughters have in mourning the loss of their bothers. In doing so, we also invalidate a fundamental sense of humanity.

I personally would love to see all of us, no matter where, see that humanity that exists, that is undeniable, that XXXX references. Would this not be a better, safer, more tolerant, more productive world if that was the case?

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