This is a companion piece to my podcast on Annette Aben’s Tell Me a Story.
“He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.”
This idea that no one is above the law drives the evolution of American Democracy:
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address.
Everyone is a human being and all human beings are equal before the law,
and equally protected by it:
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. 14th Amendment
In 1948, the United States co-authored and signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which included Franklin Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms: Freedom from Want, Freedom from Fear, Freedom of Speech, and Freedom of Worship.
From the Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
America’s Self inflicted Wounds
When George W. Bush declared the end of the war in Iraq most
people knew there were no weapons of mass destruction.
Americans were still dying in Iraq when the voters made Bush President
again in 2004.
“When the United States stands up for human rights, by example at home and by effort abroad, we align ourselves with men and women around the world who struggle for the right to speak their minds, to choose their leaders, and to be treated with dignity and respect. We also strengthen our security and well being, because the abuse of human rights can feed many of the global dangers that we confront — from armed conflict and humanitarian crises, to corruption and the spread of ideologies that promote hatred and violence.”
– Barack Obama, Statement on Human Rights Day 2008
When Barack Obama became President he chose not investigate the U.S.
Invasion of Iraq.
Our leaders will not always make the right the decisions and that’s why
lethal actions based on false information requires accountability.
We don’t heal the nation when we hide from our mistakes, we make it sick.
We make ourselves vulnerable to corruption and the spread of ideologies that promote hatred and violence.
To have faith in the American Democracy is to live with ambiguity.
America will never be perfect at living up to our ideals and we must never
We must have faith in our innate morality as expressions of the divine; as
beings endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.
Click to hear my podcast on Tell Me a Story.
(c) Rob Goldstein 2018