America is going through a transition. A transition to find what defines true freedom and justice. This past week, radio hosts Kimberley and Beck, lashed out against the recent changes to health care benefits for transgenders. The rant included comments the comments,
“The dude can look like a lady, and the city is going to pay for it…your tax dollars at work!”, and “Does that mean that…if a woman wants a boob job, they’ll pay for the boob job?”
On May 6th, BBC.com published an article about a 20 year old Princeton student who wrote an opinion article about how someone from a privileged class’ did not make them oppressive racist trying to keep power. In the original article he says,
“…It was my privilege that my grandfather was blessed with resolve and an entrepreneurial spirit, and that he was lucky enough to come to the place where he could realise the dream of giving his children a better life than he had….It’s not a matter of white or black, male or female or any other division which we seek, but a matter of the values we pass along, the legacy we leave, that perpetuates ‘privilege’….And there’s nothing wrong with that.”
These are the ripples from the ideals that America was ideally based on, but was much more difficult to practice. A century ago, public values favored the comments that insulted a minority class and limitations of what they could do. They praised those who climbed economic peak and conquered it.
Forty years ago, the pendulum began to swing the other way. The minority voice, for so long suppressed, began to demand to be heard and was heard. Those with who came from influential backgrounds slowly began to come under more social scrutiny, and the pendulum swung so far as to see those were the oppressors or associated with them, be in turn demanded to conform to the new social norm where they were on a tighter leash.
This is the legacy of America’s struggle to find that social balance of justice, freedom, and liberty. Human beings are not perfect and even the highest of ideals designed to be objective, often become swayed by our experiences, desires, and bias. Naturally in our own minds, we justify our position with moral or religious righteousness, and yet the same cycle just happens over again within a few decades. World history has established this.
For Americans to truly live in a land ruled by the Constitution, that pendulum must be stabilized not on any side, but neutrally. The law is a neutral factor; it cuts as well as defends to any and all under it. Understanding of the other is the only way we can bring it to that point. I’m not talking about agreement, but putting a name and a face to the label. It means not letting our emotions rule our perceptions, no matter how justified they maybe. Respect must be equal for it to work.