Can we agree on this? America offers greater opportunity to more people than any other country. America is not perfect; there are no perfect places because there are no perfect people. This does not mean that people cannot have ideals and strive for perfection. It simply means that the failure to attain high moral standards comes from a peoples’ inability, or refusal, to live up to them. This failure to attain perfection should not be used as an excuse to abandon the pursuit of same.
The United States Constitution is a prime example of a people who sought to implement the highest of ideals, Judeo-Christian principles, which are the foundation stones of Western civilization.
The Constitution was designed to be a work in progress. The authors recognized the propensity for failure in human beings, and aware of their own limitations, made provisions that future generations should be able to amend the original document in their pursuit of the high ideals articulated therein. It is abundantly clear, from even a cursory examination of this document, that the authors intended the same rights would, without favoritism or prejudice, apply equally to all future generations.
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
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In support on these stated goals, amendments indeed were added, including XIV, Section 1:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” (emphasis added)
As one reads this amendment, in view of what is currently transpiring in United States courts, including a case heard by the United States Supreme Court regarding the University of Michigan law school, the three words “abridge,” “deprive” and “deny” seemed to leap off the page at me.
“No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge [curtail] the privileges or immunities of citizens …” Having been subjected to the rule, by whim, of a monarch, the founders were determined to prevent arbitrary imposition of laws based on the moment. (Although not specifically mentioned by name, the federal government, by default, is included in these restrictions.) The architects of the Constitution aimed to ensure that no citizen could be deprived of “privileges or immunities” and their rights would not be trampled on by arbitrary impositions of government and/or court edicts.
However, despite stated prohibitions to the contrary, It has been clearly established, historically, that certain states arbitrarily denied these constitutionally guaranteed rights to certain segments of the population by “segregation.” Absent legally manifested examples and evidence, it has recently, become known as “racism.”
Racism, which is not new or restricted to white/black relationships in the United States, is essentially based on the concept of an inherent inferiority. In other words, no matter the circumstance, one set of “inferior” individuals will always be less able to compete and/or attain on an equal basis and must, therefore, be granted a station that would bestow a measure of “equality.”
The basis for the “separate but equal” segregated schools was the assertion by certain whites that blacks, being inherently inferior, were mentally incapable of attaining at the same level as whites and, therefore, should not be held to the same standards.
“Affirmative action” is the 21st-century version of 20th-century “separate but equal.” Coloreds, Negroes, Afro-Americans, African-Americans, blacks, minorities (a rose by any other name) “need help; they cannot be held to the same intellectual standards as whites. We must make allowances.”
One would be hard pressed to find more definitive evidence of this than two court cases, one more famous than the other: Bakke vs. University of California and Fisher vs. University of Texas-Austin. Two white students, Allen Bakke and Abigail Fisher, were denied admission to their chosen college disciplines in favor of “minorities.” Both filed lawsuits after learning that “minority candidates with lesser qualifications” had been admitted instead. Both cases eventually went to the Supreme Court.
In the Bakke case, the court ruled for him on the grounds that his rights under the 14th Amendment had been violated. In the Fisher case, the court vacated two lower court rulings against her. Apparently, both Bakke and Fisher felt vindicated and believe, along with the Supreme Court, in these particular rulings, that performance, not race, should be the final determinant in the admission process.
I sincerely applaud all efforts to ensure full compliance with the Constitution, its several amendments and all civil rights legislation, but I remain firmly convinced that excellence based on individual effort, not quotas, remains the key to continuing American greatness.