The American Paradox?
A ‘paradox’ is a situation, person, or thing that combines contradictory features or qualities:
“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”
Thomas Jefferson, slave owner
“Africans had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold, and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever a profit could be made by it.”
Roger B. Taney, slave owner
Fraught with contradiction, ambivalence, and conflict the United States of America was conceived and brought into being while violating the very “rights” Jefferson enunciated as “self evident”
America has been suffering from cognitive dissonance since day one.
The term ‘hypocrisy’ fails to adequately describe the fundamental flaw in what we often refer to as the American experiment in ‘democratic governance’ and the establishment and maintenance of the ‘peculiar institution’.
It is virtually impossible to confer substantive, viable, and enforceable civil rights upon people whose basic human rights are not acknowledged and respected.
Things may be different today, but nothing has really changed in Mississippi and elsewhere in this country re the attitudes of too many white people and the 15th Amendment right of black (and brown) people to vote….
According to a poll aired by MSNBC, 49% of white voters believe that voting is a privilege not a right thus equating voting with the privilege of driving a car.
But, I digress….
On the surface, there appears to be a conflict between the “unalienable rights” of Jefferson and the ‘constitutional rights’ of the framers…
But, look again at the juxtaposition.
When read carefully and in proper context the statements aren’t at all in conflict.
In fact, the Jefferson/Taney. assertions are in sync….
My question here is: Do you, or can you, see what I see?
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