Almost 239 years ago, the United States of America was born. Fifty men signed the Declaration of Independence. That document has had, and continues to have, a profound effect on our country ever since.
Lately, in our great country, people have been taking things from the Declaration and claiming they promise us guarantees. I specifically refer to possibly the most well known phrase, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among those are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
These Rights are vital, but they are also not guaranteed. All humans have the God-given right to Life. However, since 1973 millions of babies have been denied that right. Thousands of people die each year in accidents, from disease, or are murdered.
All people have the God-given right to Liberty or freedom, however, that right is taken away from those who commit crimes. There are millions who have given up their freedoms to become enslaved to drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or other addictions. This does not even begin to discuss those trapped in human trafficking or slavery in other countries in the world.
All people have the God-given right to the pursuit of Happiness. Here is where it gets sticky for some people. We are guaranteed the ability or right to pursue happiness. We are NEVER guaranteed we will catch happiness. We have the right to pursue what makes us happy, unless that happiness comes at the expense of another person’s rights. We cannot pursue happiness if it is illegal. We should not pursue happiness that is immoral, whether it is explicitly illegal or not.
In the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to our Unites States Constitution, several rights are spelled out for our citizens. Other amendments spell out other rights for our citizens. In this culture, political correctness has fostered an atmosphere where many seem afraid to speak about many topics for fear of offending someone. In the last thirty years, we have seen many laws, policies, and ordinances put in place at all levels of government and other places so that no one, is offended.
We need to understand that nowhere in the Constitution are we guaranteed the right to never be offended. Offenses happen. Differing opinions will lead to disagreements. Disagreements need not be taken personally. People of good conscience can disagree without it getting personal or ugly. We must not believe that because someone disagrees with me or my opinion, they do not have the right to that opinion.
We must not take away the rights and freedoms of others because they disagree with us. We have all heard the statement, “You have the right to be wrong.” That is 100% true. Some disagreements are over things are not black and white or right and wrong. Others are definitely so. And people have the right to be wrong.
Abraham Lincoln, in his famous Gettysburg Address described our country perfectly when he said that “a government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.” In our country today, too many people, really of minority opinions and beliefs are trying to make this a country where only one set of opinions is valid and all others, and the people who hold them, must be silenced, ostracized, and attacked.
When someone’s rights are trampled on and ignored, it damages us as a nation and as a culture and a people. In the last several years, we have seen our nation and people diminished because a few people don’t want to allow people to voice dissenting opinions. I say it is time we stop that.
What’s your take? Comment below.