Justice For All

Birthdays are a good time to look back, to look forward, and to take stock of who and what we are. We turn 241 today. There are many good and bad qualities about America and one of the worst is the blind eye we turn to the fact that we live in an unjust society. 

The scales of justice are weighted toward me. I am white, male, and straight. I grew up in a comfortable middle-class suburb and went to good schools from kindergarten to college. The laws of the country I live in are designed to protect me, my family, and my property. All that would be great if the protection and opportunities I have were afforded to all Americans. They are not.

We have the largest prison population in the world at over 2 million of our citizens. When you include those on probation and parole the number comes close to 7 million. The epidemic of mass incarceration has disproportionately affected black families. Forty percent of prisoners are black, even though they are only thirteen percentage of our citizens.

One of the reasons we have the sad excuse for a president we do is because so many of our fellow citizens refuse to believe we live in an unjust society. For many of them the fact that such a large percentage of our prison population is black reveals racial inferiority not injustice. 

Another generation of black men is being decimated, like every other one since this country was founded, by a criminal justice system that permits their abuse and murder. I am not a black man and I am not a police officer. There are people I consider friends in both groups and some are friends with each other. Twelve percent of police officers are themselves black. The solution to our common problem will benefit both groups and it begins with the most basic principle of justice: equal treatment of all people.

After 241 years it is long past time we lived up to our belief in the self-evident truth that all men are created equal.

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