What about U.S. civil rights?
The media, our politicians, and just plain us, are ready and willing to criticize China for their many assaults on human rights; but I would ask, where are the memories of our own history?
We should begin the search by remembering that our Declaration of Independence told us that all men deserve the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Unfortunately, lots of our citizens disagreed with that opinion, and so about a hundred years later, we had ourselves a civil war. In the “Gettysburg Address”, Mr. Lincoln reminded us that “all men are created equal.. But only after the war was over, and a few more years had passed, did we finally end the abomination of slavery.
Unfortunately, we then continued to treat our black folks as second-class citizens; albeit, to a lesser extent after 1964 when we passed powerful laws that guaranteed them both civil and voting rights. Yet even now, in the year 2008, it would appear that some of us harbor racial prejudices and would object to a black man being our president.
I would suggest that all of us should remember both the real cause and the horror of the civil war. And we also should be reminded of the dignity of Rosa Parks and so many more who staged nonviolent protests. We should all be appalled by the murders of Martin Luther King and Medgar Evers and Emmett Till and a whole host of others. And now let’s recall the brutality of Sheriff Connor and his fire hoses and his dogs; plus the miserable sight of white adults taunting little black children when they tried to enter public schools. Finally, we should all acknowledge the cruel treatment of so many black men and women who have served with honor in our armed forces.
Yes, we can agree that civil rights in China are far less than admirable. But now that we’ve briefly reviewed our own history, perhaps we should temper our criticism with a little humility. And now too, we should acknowledge, and try to eliminate, the prejudices that still exist in this great country. They demean the dreams of so many of us ” both past and present.