America’s egalitarian ideals should not be abandoned

There is a beautiful word that exists within the English language, one that stands for the belief that all humans, no matter what race, gender, orientation, religion, political views and every other part of us that divides, are equal to each other and should be treated as such. This word is “egalitarianism,” coming from the French word “égal” which translates to equal. People who follow this frame of mind, those who truly do believe that we are all human and should be treated as such, call themselves egalitarians.

The difference between this title and several groups that fight for certain sections of equality at a time is that egalitarians fight for all. It does not matter who you might be or what struggles you are going through, big or small, if you are unequal in some way, the egalitarians will stand up for you.

A way of looking at this is that the comparison between dividing equality into separate groups to be handled at different times and the infamous Orwell line “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” can be easily made. The way that an egalitarian sees it is that either you fight for equality for all at once, or you aren’t talking about equality. By putting certain social groups on a pedestal to only be focussed on at one moment, you are saying that this group is more important and more deserving of equal treatment than other groups, destroying your original message.

In the late 1800s when slaves were finally freed in America and the 15th Amendment guaranteed the male’s right to vote, women stepped forward and asked for the same right but were denied as they were told “It’s the black man’s time.” They both deserved the basic human right of the ability to vote immediately, but the women were denied simply because it wasn’t “their time” for equality. An egalitarian would do everything possible to give both groups the rights shared by others immediately, without hesitation.

Today, this term is lost to many who agree that all humans are equal as they associate instead with ideologies and groups that represent only a portion of pure equality. It is important to note that egalitarianism is not a cult, it is not a congregation and it is not a religion. It’s a philosophy of love shared by many that takes no initiation to join, and all you have to do is believe that you are human, that I am human, that the homeless child on the street is human, that the well off banker is human and everyone who lives in between.

A word like this could have a lot of power if used by a large enough portion of humanity, but as of yet, it does not seem that this will be the case. With the new president trying (and fortunately failing) to ban the citizens of seven Middle Eastern countries from entering, it shows that the battle is not over yet. “Give me your tired,” reads the inscription on the Statue of Liberty, “your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” And yet our own president refuses to listen to her.

Even if that was not inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, though, it would still be our duty to accept those tormented by war and suffering into our arms, understanding that just because they come from a place that contains people who want to do harm does not mean that they are crafted by the same beliefs. Humanity helps humanity, the mother helps her young, the fit helps the weak, we help these people. To not accept those looking for a nation where they can live free is to call them lesser to us, while at the same time demonstrating that this is no place to come for freedom. This country was built on the idea of the free (even though that might not have actually come to fruition until recently in our history) and to simply not even try to hide your erasing of it is disgusting.

Egalitarianism needs to rise, needs to shout, needs to stomp its feet and mash its teeth and wave its arms and wail to the stars above “We will no longer stand for injustice!”

Please, realize that there is something wrong here, that something needs to be done. I am the same as you, as you are to me, so please take my hand and let us rise up side by side together. We can do this.

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