“Peace and justice are two sides of the same coin.”–Dwight D. Eisenhower
The nation feels terribly out of kilter these days. It appears that much of the fault is due to the promotion of injustice. I’m not alone in this assessment of current events. Lately, the heavy hand of authority weighs even more oppressively on many Americans. Injustice is outrageous anywhere, but more so right here where “liberty and justice for all” is held in such high esteem that it appears in the Pledge to our Flag.
These days the liberty and justice passage seems like just a rote phrase that is only mumbled in passing. If liberty and justice for all is so important that Americans elevate it to Flag-honoring status, why is there such a deficit of it?
As a member of an often oppressed minority, I could sit at my keyboard and enumerate the human rights violations that have and continue to happen within our own borders. Hundreds of others have done so more eloquently than I can. I don’t need to add my two-cents worth.
I will state that I believe in the equality of all human beings. In my opinion, our nation’s institutions, governmental and private, should advance the virtues of liberty, mercy, and wisdom in an equitable, just manner. In doing so, the famous phrase from the Declaration of Independence, “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” becomes attainable. That same document proclaims everyone’s equality.
The Eisenhower statement that leads today’s post, elegantly expresses the importance of justice to us. When people know we are being treated fairly and equitably, we can live our lives more contentedly. When injustice is present, resentment simmers and often boils over into social unrest. This does not excuse criminal behavior, but it does validate why people peacefully protest. This is a reason that “the right to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” is enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution.
It sometimes seems like many of our leaders flunked the civics portion of their high school social studies classes. Peaceful protest is a Constitutionally protected way to remind our leaders of their responsibility to protect everybody’s freedoms and not only those of certain status. Such is the nature of justice as envisioned by the nation’s founders in the 18th century.
“Justice consists in doing no injury to men; decency in giving them no offense.”–Marcus Tullius Cicero
Fairness is not just some sort of radical, liberal agenda item. Fairness and justice have been expounded upon ever since ancient times. Humans are not the only species that understand fairness. You might say that our love of justice is in our DNA. We largely organize civilizations on account of our desire for enforceable justice.
Even though I’m not a stereotypical “flag-waving” partisan, the American ideal of the development of citizens for our own and the common good is important to me. It is beneficial to enable such development through freedom of thought and to strive towards becoming our best individual selves. So far, the best ways we’ve been able to do this are through democracy and social justice.
The love for family and friends, along with other great loves that include creativity, self-improvement, learning new skills, and the advancement of social justice are some deeply ingrained values of millions of like-minded Americans and people around the world. These are all values worth preserving and enjoying by all of us.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes the 19th century essayist, journalist, and poet, Walt Whitman. “Judging from the main portions of the history of the world, so far, justice is always in jeopardy.”