“Oh, say does that Star-Spangled banner yet wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
America, the land of the free, right? A country whose morals and ethics are based on the premise that we are all created equal and have a voice when it comes to our own governance. America, where immigrants (including those of color), religions and ethnicities have arrived with the dream of a better life. To live the “American Dream.” Equality is what unites us as a country. But recently, the concept of equality is like a frayed cloth, with people picking at the very threads of our unity.
So many of us are so quick to jump to conclusions about others. You’re vocal about your beliefs about equal rights for all? You must be a liberal “sheep,” blindly buying into the narratives of MSNBC and CNN. You must loathe President Trump.
Why is believing in basic human rights for all suddenly a bad thing? Why is it considered radical to state Black Lives Matter? The phrase is not saying only black lives matter, but that black lives should be valued and protected just as much as other races.
Why is it considered radical to call for action after 4,500 complaints arose about “illegal” immigrant children who have been sexually abused while in the care of the U.S. government? Are these children less human than the ones who aren’t “aliens?”
Why is it considered radical to recognize the science behind climate change? We only have this planet to live on, we should take care of it. When did taking care of our home, supporting ideas of clean energy and the regulation of emissions become “far left?”
Why is it considered radical to speak out against systemic bias, as evidenced by reams of statistical data and the fact that Black men and women routinely die for such offenses as, well, attempting to defend themselves when men (not in uniform) break into their house in the dead of night? When did it become “liberal” to scold someone for making bold assumptions about community members who are Muslims or Jewish?
When did supporting humanitarian issues become a “liberal” cause? Why is that when someone promotes equal rights movements they’re often labeled as “radical left?” The better question: when did the very principles this country was founded on become “radical?”
The American dream: the ideal by which equality of opportunity is available to any American. That's what we’re all in pursuit of, right? But how can anyone have a fighting chance at this goal when its guiding principle, equality, is demeaned as radical?
In a 2005 skit, controversial comedian George Carlin joked, "The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it."
Is it still a joke? Or in today’s world, is this our reality?
Ms. Bole is the Times graphic reporter.