Our Pledge of Allegiance makes an historic and important promise from all who state it with their hand over their heart. They promise to promote “liberty and justice for all”. No doubt, all in attendance at the Republican National Convention this week have taken this pledge. In fact, I have no doubt that all of those who voted in favor of voter suppression laws in 32 states have taken that pledge. All of those who voted for laws that remove a woman’s right to choose have taken that pledge. All of those that believe that government should allow corporations to operate with little or no regulation or taxation have taken that pledge. All of those who believe that those in need, the elderly and the disabled should fend for themselves with little or no safety net provided by the government have taken that pledge. Those that want to reduce funding for education have taken that pledge. Those that want to ignore the facts of climate change and the lessons provided by science have taken that pledge. Those who want the government to reduce regulation, on drugs, food, water and consumer products, in favor of corporate profits have taken that pledge. Given these facts, do you really think that these people truly believe in “liberty and justice for all”?
To listen to the rant and chant of the Republicans around the country, there are no more patriotic people than themselves. They and they alone understand the true meaning of the American promise and the American dream. They and they alone understand the true meaning of our Constitution. And most importantly, they and they alone, are obligated to share and pass on the legacy of America. That legacy includes special consideration for the privileged class who at some point will allow some of their good fortune to “trickle down” to those of us who are not as fortunate. That legacy includes a nation in which science is denigrated and ignored, the rights of women, minorities and immigrants are in jeopardy and gun rights are more important than voting rights. They believe in “justice for all” as long as “all” is white, male, Christian, straight and born in America . The Republican keep talking about enlarging their tent. The problem they have is that if you don’t fit into their definition of a “real American”, you are really not welcome.
This country has not been this divided since the Civil War. Yet, we are not divided by affluence or geography. The country is not divided by religion or education. Some, however, believe that we are divided by our vision for America. I think it is more basic. I think we are divided by how we understand the words, “and liberty and justice for all”. Does that phrase imply that we are inclusive or exclusive? I think that Democrats understand that phrase to call for the inclusion of all who seek these time honored values. However, the Republicans, I believe, feel that we should be an exclusive club, available to only those they view as worthy. That is why they have worked so hard to portray President Obama as “an other”.
This election is vital. The Republicans believe in liberty and justice for some, while the Democrats believe in liberty and justice for all. What do you believe?