When in the Course of human events ...

These are perhaps the most famous words spoken within the course of American history: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, 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."

We could argue about which rights are unalienable all day long without resolution, but the founding fathers were plain in their text: Life, Liberty, the pursuit of Happiness. Even those words have come possess debatable meanings. I find it sad that in our America, many who claim to believe these words from the Declaration of Independence as the truest form of patriotism somehow translate them through their actions as if to mean my Life, my Liberty, and my Happiness.

Regardless of how you translate those three words: Life, Liberty, Happiness, there is qualifier in our founding documents to whom those rights apply. It is this, "all men are created equal."


This is an all inclusive phrase. Despite the gender specific terminology, we accept the definition of man to reflect all of mankind - both male and female. Nor did the men who authored this document intend it to portray American exceptionalism that concluded we were better than anyone else. By saying all men, they granted that the American colonists were created as equals to the citizens of the British Empire. We must accept that either all peoples of every nation were created equals - even if their nation does not grant them the same legal rights and privileges.

This can be a tough pill to swallow. Because, if you truly believe this, then you must live as if it is true. That means you cannot treat anyone as if they are lower class persons. Every person is a human individual deserving of decent respect and courtesy. The Syrian refugee, your gay neighbor, the Mormon missionaries who proselytize in your neighborhood, the homeless person you ignore on your way to Starbucks every morning, the Latino immigrant busing tables at your favorite restaurant, the kid at the grocery store who stutters while she bags your groceries, the school yard bully. Each and every one of them carries the same worth as you and me.

So when we talk about these unalienable Rights endowed by our Creator, even when we cannot agree on the definition of those rights, we must remember that all men and women were created equal.

We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal. Including those with different socioeconomic backgrounds. And those who do not share your political beliefs or religious convictions. And those whose skin color, national origin, or sexual orientation is not the same as yours. Even those who annoy the crap out of you. Like it or not, they are your equal.

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