Equality
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EQUAL RIGHTS UNDER THE LAW

THE NEXT DEMOCRATIC MILESTONE:    As the world becomes more and more civilized, it will progressively move toward a society where -hopefully- there would be more governments which are truly representative of their citizenry.  Representative meaning, all people should have the right to "a fair chance of their leaders been chosen", regardless of minority or social group.  Notice that I have not said the right to vote, which is a given in modern democracies like ours.  Instead I said, the right to have their leaders chosen, or their group represented in Government. This is what I call the "equality" test, and "equality" challenge.

In America it was a long struggle for women to have the right to vote.  And similarly, it was not an easy ride for blacks to have that same right.  But, being able to vote is not the end of the battleHaving equal rights within the society, that is the ultimate goal that we should strive for.  There is still people being discriminated, not because of what they have done, but because of the perception that they are either, not competent, or that they are a threat to children or society, or whatever the hate line might be.

GOVERNMENT LEADERSHIP:     I do not have to go more into this, other than to say that It is time for the Government to act decisively and take the lead, passing legislation at the Federal level to establish the "equal rights" path to be followed.  The current approach is passive (laggard) Federal legislation, as I call it.  Our Congress often waits for States to move forward little by little.  Only when a majority of States have passed certain "equal rights" amendments, then is that our central government has the courage to act. You could call it lack of leadership!

Some people reading these paragraphs may quickly conclude: Here is another Liberal talking about the rights of gays and lesbians.  Those rights too!   However, this conclusion would be too shortsighted. 

 

I do not consider myself neither Liberal nor Conservative.  You could place me on the spot of the spectrum where you feel I should be in.  The label does not matter to me.   I not even want to be labeled Democrat or Republican.  I am a social-democrat because, in my priorities people's issues matter more than economic ones.   I am who I am.  Just a human being with some vision of what is right.  And with -in my opinion- interesting positions on economic issues.  I also have inedited ideas on how we can prosper, and how we could get out of the economic valley where we have stalled.  

Let me ask:  What chances does have a __blank___ person of becoming a US President in this day and age?

Now fill the blank with:

1) Jewish,    2) Woman,  3) Atheist,  4) Gay,  5) African-American, 6) Foreign born citizen ....

RE-DISTRICTING:     There has been congressional "redistricting" throughout the years in America.  It has been done by "segregating" neighborhoods.  That is, minority neighborhoods in a district are excised and then regrouped into new geographical boundaries, thus the minority group now becomes a majority in the "synthesized" district.  By doing so, these citizens have now a "fair chance" to be selected, or have their leaders chosen (in other words, this measure meets my "equality" test).

In principle, segregating districts does not sound good.  However, in practice it works.  We know we have not in a perfect society here in America.  USA is not Utopia.  We probably would not have as many Jewish, or African Americans, or Agnostics, or Gays and Lesbians in Congress if not because of this redistricting. The negative bias feeds on generalized perceptions (stereotypes) that the populace has.  Even with a slight negative bias of 5%, the outcome of an election could have disastrous results (for the "wrong" -underdog- candidate).

So, the mechanism of redistricting -although imperfect and limited to small regions- has been a great step forward for our democracy. Often the re-districting is justified not on racial grounds, but on a needed Republican-Democrat "voter balance".  It has allowed the leaders of minority groups to become our Representatives in Congress.  The US Senate is somewhat more difficult to "equalize", due to the plurality of constituencies implied by their larger districts.  Forget the Presidency.

Therefore, the next leap forward in our political system should be making sure that these groups (above) -and others- have a "fair chance" of becoming elected in larger and larger geographical areas.  Say Governor of a State, or President of our nation.

 

 

JEWS: It was courageous, and I applaud Al Gore for having Joe Lieberman as his campaign partner.  It would have been the first time in American history that a Jewish person became our Vice President.  It might be almost imperceptible, but once in a while you hear commentaries about an anti-Semitic bias (statistically proven) by US voters.   Politicians supposedly know about it, but most do not want to -publicly- admit it, or talk about it.  It is taboo. The 2000 election could not have been tighter than it was.  If what has been stated is true, then without this bias Gore would had won by a significant margin.

Was Lieberman a drag to Gore's victory?  Unfortunately, probably he was, despite his talents and abilities.   But, ideals should not have to be accommodating, or "for sale" If Joe was the right person for that position, then Al should be back on the ticket in 2004, If Joe was the right person for that position, then Al should be back on the ticket in 2004, with Joe.

 

BLACKS:   Some would say that the "right" African-American candidates for the Presidency / Governor have not showed up yet.  I think I know better.  It is an excuse for another bias we know exists in the general voter.  Also taboo to talk about. Do not rock the boat! - I hear.

By the way, my best wishes Daryl Jones, at a Democratic event I had the pleasure to meet his greatest admirer -his eloquent and talented wife.  Go for it Jones!  I wish you the best!

 

WOMEN:  We have had a Hollywood actor as President (and he was pretty good).  Currently, we have a "intellectually non-curious" President, and he is doing OK.   Do you remember candidate Geraldine Ferraro ? (she was chosen by Walter Mondale for running partner in the 1984 campaign against Reagan-Bush).  She would have been a first, as well.  Too bad! 

 

HISPANICS:    They are sub-represented even in the House.  With Hispanics being the 12% of the US population (and many more not counted, because they can not vote,  or are illegal), and with a Congress made up of about 435 Representatives and 100 Senators, we should have about 64 Hispanics in Washington.  We are lucky if we have one-fifth that many.

ATHEISTS   Odds are huge, even for a Congress slot, forget the Presidency.  Actually, on this topic we have moved backwards during the last two centuries.  Because, we have had non-believers as Presidents of our great nation.

Would have these Presidents been elected if they were to make the following statements today?

I do not believe in the divinity of Christ, and there are many other of the postulates of the orthodox creed to which I cannot subscribe.-William Howard Taft, U.S. 27th President (elected in 1909)

This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.  The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.-John Adams, U.S. 2nd President (elected in 1797)

The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma.  During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution. In no instance have . . . the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people... Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise. -James Madison, U.S. 4th President (elected in 1808).

Religions are all alike founded upon fables and mythologies...The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being of His Father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.... It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.... Question boldly even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear.... I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature... -Thomas Jefferson, U.S. 3rd President (elected in 1801), author, scientist, architect, educator, and diplomat.

Some of our best citizens have become bigots.  We have had masses of uneducated impoverish immigrants (often from the from religious rural areas of their countries) who moved into our land,  wave by wave.  And that probably has something to do with it.  Our first Presidents have had a British education.  Not that I am blaming them, or their religion (some religions are quite tolerant to agnostics or to other religions), I am just trying to analyze the reasons for our intolerance.   

 This is what a recent US President was quoted saying:

George H.W. Bush, as Presidential Nominee for the Republican party; 1987-AUG-27: "No, I don't know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."  41st President (elected in 1989)

George, if I were you, I would contact those American patriots and good citizens (on page Non-Religion) who are our contemporaneous, and I would ask them for their forgiveness. Nothing less than that.  You owe it to them.     Juan Xuna.

  During the height of the Cold War, when McCarthyism hysteria gripped the land, the National Reform Association and religious institutions saw that the time was ripe to make their move. In the typically hysterical language of the day, the Committee on the Judiciary published on May 10, 1954, that "...one of the greatest differences between the free world and the Communists, [is] a belief in God." It was urged that the Pledge of Allegiance be altered to recognize god. PS 623 (77th Cong., 56 Stat.) effectuated that end.
And so, in 1954, Congress added the words, "under God," to the Pledge. The Pledge was now both a patriotic oath and a public prayer. Bellamy's granddaughter said he would have resented this change. He had been pressured into leaving his church in 1891 because of his socialist sermons. In his retirement in Florida, he stopped attending church because he disliked the racial bigotry he found there.

In the picture, President Bush -a religious person- with Russia's President Putin -an Atheist.  Probably both had as much difficulty to communicate as Bush and Carl Wieman (a University of Colorado Physics Professor who recently won the Nobel Price for helping discover a  new form of matter).  About his inability to strike a conversation with President Bush during a White-House reception, Wieman said:

"He wanted to talk about the Colorado-Texas football game.  Unfortunately, I guess, I wasn't really that interested"

Reported on Newsweek, December 10,2001.

FOREIGN BORN:     Finally, let me say, that you can be a candidate to House Representative, if you have been a US citizen for 7 years, and a Senator if 10 years of citizenship.  However, regardless of how many years you have been US citizen, or how much you love your adopted country, or how many millions would be willing to vote for you, the matter of fact is that if you were born in a foreign country then you can not be a US President -ever.

Since my arrival in the USA, 31 years ago, and regardless of my chances of becoming the President, I always felt like a second-class citizen because of this law.  Arrogance and hypocrisy is what offends me.  This regulation has also caused the apathy -I had in the past- from becoming involved in the political process, despite suggestions from friends and family.  I decided -finally- to get out, and fight against what I believe is wrong, and for what I believe is right.  I will take whatever my message is on issues to the American people and we will let them decide.  I really believe I will win this bid for Congress, but that is not the point.  Whether I win or lose -please- sit back, watch, and enjoy, because -modesty aside- I guarantee you it is going to be a fight-for-ideals to remember.

 That rudimentary law takes away an inalienable right from millions of Americans who were born in Europe, Asia, Latin America, or even Canada.   It is not fair.  It is an obsolete law.

GAYS AND LESBIANS:     They are human beings like all of us.  They do not have a problem.  We are the ones who have a problem of not understanding their sexual preferences.  They were born different, another variation of our genes, but not necessarily an imperfect "mutant".   The fact that there are homosexual in all races, in all nations, and for as long as we have been recording history means that the "difference" in our metabolisms might play an important evolutionary role, yet for us to discover.  We all know that homosexuals are not being treated equally and fairly in our society, as if they were malicious, pernicious, or lesser human beings.  They are being discriminated by the heterosexual voter majority.  Openly homosexual individuals have -at best- slim chances of wining in an election.  State and Federal laws still discriminate them with impunity.  And that has to change.  Gays and Lesbians ought to have equal rights. It is unbelievable that I am writing this in America, in the 21st century.

FELONS and EX-FELONS:     Florida is one of only eight States in the USA where ex-felons have not their right to vote restored immediately after having paid their debt to society.   My philosophy goes beyond that:  it is not only ex-felons that should have the right to vote, the way I see it, every human being who proves to be old-enough, legal resident, and is not mentally impaired should have the right to vote That includes not just ex-felons, but felons and immigrants as well.  We have more than 6 million felons, and 9 million "illegal" immigrants who can not vote.  Then we have perhaps 35 million "legal" immigrants who have not yet acquired the American citizenship.

Many of these legal residents may opt for not becoming US citizens and could continue as permanent residents.  We should not force them to be citizens just to have their voices heard.  They might be patriotic fellows who hope to return to their homelands some day, but in the meanwhile and perhaps for many more years to come they will live here with us.  Such a huge number of individuals should have a right to chose their representatives.  As it is now, their voices can not be heard.   Together, all of the "voiceless" groups above add up to the population of Spain and Portugal put together.  They have families, they love their children, they eat, they breath, they sleep as we do, and they have problems -as we all do- that need resolution and a democratic forum for all of us to be responsive.

It is said that voting is not a right, but a privilege.  I totally disagree.  Perhaps voting for President should be a privilege for just US citizens, but voting for representatives should be a right for all those groups above!

Would our Founding Fathers ever imagine that here in the USA there would be one day when 25% of American residents would not be able to vote for State and Congressional representatives?  That is more people without vote than the citizens they had when the constitution was signed.  

  Bias at the National level is the real problem! 
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If I am elected you can be assured I will  fight -at every opportunity I find- to make this country greater, fairer, and EQUAL TO ALL.

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