To the Editor: BG council should protect rights of all citizens


On July 4, 1776, Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers issued the Declaration of Independence. Its
words became the hallmark of this nation, marking us for all time as the Land of Opportunity.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident," the Founders declared, "that all men are
created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these
are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness-that to secure these rights, Governments are
Being "equal" doesn’t mean we are all the same. It means that, regardless of our differences,
we are entitled to equal voice in government, equal justice before the law, and equality of opportunity
to get ahead. Abraham Lincoln said that ours must always be a land "where all can rise."
We may never will fulfill these goals perfectly, but they remain the cherished ideals which, over time,
Americans have been achieving by bits and pieces. Recently, a TV host eloquently explained why he gave
up his Scottish citizenship to become an American citizen. He said, "America is the greatest idea
for a country anybody ever had."
Indeed it is. From the start, however, the struggle for equality has had to cope with stubborn
resistance. At first, the right to vote was largely restricted to males of property. Defenders of
slavery claimed Scriptural support for human bondage and derided emancipation as "socialism."
It took more than a century for women to get the vote. After emancipation, African Americans were
shackled by a lack of civil rights. Repeatedly, some of those who enjoy the benefits of the status quo
argue, in the face of all reason, that "no changes are needed" or that seekers of no more than
equal rights actually want "special rights"
We shouldn’t let opposition to equal rights, when it springs from fear, lack of understanding, or simple
self-interest, to infect Bowling Green. The Founders never promised us happiness, only the right to
pursue it. We do not have to like people who are different from us, but we are honor-bound as Americans
to respect everyone’s right to pursue happiness through equality of opportunity, justice, and voice in
government. And, as the Founders said, "It is to secure these rights that governments are
Assuring others of the same rights we already have does not grant them "special rights," take
away our rights, or express approval of everything others may do. It simply respects America’s amazing
diversity as one source of our strength. Just as it has with women and blacks, the assurance of equal
rights for all will release new energy into the community, energy that benefits everyone.
This wonderful nation was built by people given opportunities they would not have had elsewhere. I hope
the members of our city council heed the voices of our Founding Fathers and move to protect the rights
of all our citizens. That would be a courageous act of patriotism worthy of the best leadership this
land has to offer.
James Bissland
Bowling Green

No posts to display