Of late, there has been a great deal of talk about the intent of the Founding Fathers of our country, particularly as it relates to the Constitution. To some, the Fathers were infallible and divinely inspired.
While I have great admiration and am grateful that those Patriots brought to birth our nation, I do not share in the deification of the Founding Fathers. When this nation was born, women were still second class citizens and non-whites weren’t even citizens at all. Slavery and the genocide of the Native Americans were the law of the land. All men were not created equal.
The progression of a society is a slow process and sometimes that progression is accompanied by violence and even war. Some of the progress is prompted by court decision, other by courageous and principled legislative activity and more yet by seminal changes in attitudes within society.
Sometimes, the leadership that is required to facilitate progress is not recognized as such at the time. Today, we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr., but in the Sixties, he was vilified by a good portion of society. The FBI had an extensive file on him and many were convinced that he was a communist. MLK did not change – society’s attitude towards him changed.
Most take for granted the progression of society wrought by the Civil Rights Movement, but that progression came with a horrible price tag and virtually split the country in half once again.
It is said that opposition to Gay Rights is the last “acceptable” form of bigotry. I feel for those that are hurt by the lack of progress towards equality for our gay brothers and sisters, but I also remember that it was just a half century ago that racial discrimination was rampant.
That is scant consolation for those damaged by sexual orientation discrimination, but with time comes progress and time is greatly compressed in this age of high speed communication. I am not preaching patience, I am preaching hope.
The day will come when, truly, all men and women are created equal.
William Stephenson Clark