Some More Than Others
We Are All Equal, Are We Not?
A comment on my article in Like the Dew, “Here’s What I Wish I’d Said“, read: ‘We are all equal, are we not?’ When it comes to equality between the sexes and between rich and poor, here’s how I see it.
As a backlash to the aspiration of equality, some see an opportunity to express their chagrin by lack of courtesy. Opening a door or giving up a seat on public transport is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of consideration for our fellow human beings. A man seeing it as an opportunity to put down a “Women’s Libber” says more about him than it does about the woman.
Equal pay: The gap in pay between men and women doing the same full time job in America is still 19%. That’s on Wikipedia today: “The unexplained part is typically attributed to discrimination.” It used to be justified that men were breadwinners, supporting families. But single men were paid the same as married. Today there are millions of single mothers who are sole breadwinners, still not paid equally to men. It is unthinkable that men would accept being paid 19% less than women for equal work.
Part time workers of both sexes are often underpaid, exploited as single parents who must oversee their children.
Single parents and many married mothers work longer hours, responsible for housework, cooking and childcare on top of their time at work. Many would like to share those activities more fairly, especially married women.
Fathers sometimes get a raw deal when it comes to divorce and custody. A vindictive wife can contrive to keep the children away from him. Let’s hear more support for loving Fathers who want to see their children.
Should crimes committed by white collar workers like fraud be subject to lighter sanctions than blue collar theft? Can a banker stealing millions get away with a fine, or lighter sentence than a thief?
Should a black man be more easily judged guilty, than a white man? No, but it is statistically the case.
Should a politician with his hand out escape sanction because it’s called lobbying, whereas a businessman might be accused of taking a bribe?
Should an election be winnable by the party with more disposable funds? Why allow political advertising in the first place? That is not part of the Founding Fathers’ legacy. It has become less a contribution to political debate than an opportunity for one party to insult the other.
The better off in our society are often reluctant to fund relief schemes through their taxes. By relief I speak of payments to the unemployed, the poor, the sick. Resistance to paying fair taxes reflects lack of concern for the hardest pressed, especially when one’s income is large enough to afford second homes, a yacht and several cars. Yet those fighting to preserve their advantages are often the same people professing their religious virtue. In America land of the Free, it’s considered laudable to be religious, unless of course that religion is Muslim, which may be considered suspect.
Although practically everybody in America is descended from immigrants, today it’s sometimes used as a term of abuse. The same class who complain about undocumented aliens may employ immigrants to work at unpopular jobs for less money. Exploitation is one thing; giving them permission to be here is another.
In time of war the Armed Forces welcome immigrants.
Some complain that immigrants send home their pay to countries in South America. They do so not because they are affluent but because their loved ones at home are hungrier than they are. The people sending home their pay take the bus and live on beans. Don’t assume they left their families and their culture behind because they preferred our lifestyle, food and music. It’s often because there was no work at home and their children’s bellies were empty. Consider the sacrifice, not to see your children for a decade, burdening your aged parents, because you are supporting them all the only way you know how. Are they to be denigrated? Wouldn’t we do the same in their situation?
A hungry man is not a free man. – Adlai Stevenson, statesman (1900-1965)
Americans working abroad send money home by electronic transfer, not spending more in those countries than necessary. Americans abroad seldom try to learn the language, yet criticize Hispanics who do not learn English.
Those who receive health insurance benefits through their jobs or who have money to spare sometimes worry little about people with diabetes without insulin, their outlook if untreated being loss of limb, blindness or premature death. Imagine suffering toothache for weeks on end while waiting for a cancellation at a Free Clinic to pull it out.
Appendicitis is more than a health crisis for a person without health insurance. For those for whom insurance is unaffordable an accident, cancer or heart attack can wipe out their savings in weeks.
Should people who love others of their own sex not be allowed to marry like the rest of us?
Shouldn’t victims of rape and incest have the right to abort in every state?
Should the terminally ill in this country have less access to euthanasia than Canadians?
There will never be universal equality in the world, while some Africans live on a dollar a day and others die for lack of water.
We are not all equal now. We can only aspire to equality, and preserve what kindness we can towards our fellow man.
- Image: By Andreanna Moya Photography from her flickr photostream and used under Creative Commmons license.