Wednesday, January 25, 2006

On Ideals, Politics and then. . . Contradictions

de·moc·ra·cy : n. pl. de·moc·ra·cies

1) Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.

2) A political or social unit that has such a government.
The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.

3)Majority rule.

4)The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.

The United States was founded on noble ideals and beliefs, those ideals of course coming from the Declaration of Independence (Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, among other ideals).

Ironically, the country did not equally share the rights associated with those ideals among its citizens. People of color were seen as inadequate to house those ideals, which were found prevalent among white people. So we can see that the new country promised so many good things for its citizens but failed.

These rights were deprived from blacks. Obviously it is evidence enough that THEY WERE ENSLAVED. Blacks could not live LIFE and have LIBERTY and be in PURSUIT OF
HAPPINESS. These actions are hypocritical.

Black children were sold into slavery before they reached puberty. These actions again show the contradictions and hypocrisy of a nation that was founded on the ideals of freedom and equality.

The point I'm trying to make is simple. I want people to notice how a certain people who advocated for wonderful rights and were passionate about philosophic ideals were so bold in not sharing those same ideals with other humans.

This is deeper than just people enslaving other people, it's about the ethics and values of a people who were unwilling to promote peace and equality with people other than themselves. The question that remains is do the values and morals of slave masters still exist and if they do to what extent have they evolved?

Don't get me wrong, I don’t want you think that I'm just pointing fingers, but I mean to point out that white America has not been living up to its ideals.

I tend to like democracy but I’m afraid that the descendants of the people who brought democracy to this hemisphere aren't acting accordingly to the ideals of their ancestors. That idea scares me!

We don’t need to look too far into history to see all the contradictions. Segregation, Jim Crow, American Imperialism are all hypocrisies to the American ideals. More recently, the need for the Civil Rights Movement to give people of color the fundamentals of democracy will always be a bloody stain in American democracy. Let's not forget that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was only passed by Congress four decades ago. Voting is the backbone for any democracy.

We can see that there's a behavior likeness with American politicians. American Imperialism of the early 20th century giving birth to the Spanish-American War escalated by Theodore Roosevelt and his practice of using an African saying "Speak softly, and carry a big stick" which later would be known by historians as "big-stick diplomacy."

When my history teacher told me that “history certainly doesn’t repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme” I now realize what he meant.

Comments made by Democratic leader Harry Reid calling the Republican-led Congress "the most corrupt in history" don’t make me feel any better about America living up to those ideals.

The importance of such a statement can’t be undermined, because it’s coming from within the symbol of democracy that Pierre L’ Enfant architecturally created and intended to be the Capitol building. This building is the symbol of American democracy. To have a Senator say such a statement really rallies the question, is America still, or has it even ever been, a democracy?

By Jose Andrade, 19
Special thanks to my history teacher Mr. Hunt for helping me edit this post


Anonymous Johonna said...

From the contraditions of American so-called democracy to setting the record straight on the real folks behind youth justice reform in the city, you all are always keeping it real. Bringing the arts, pop culture, news, political theory, and straight comedy..not to mention activism and organizing. YARG --Thanks for sharing your thoughts, analysis and ideas. You will laugh, think, learn, and be motivated to make change when you visit This blog is critical reading.

January 28, 2006 12:38 PM  
Blogger eleKtrofly said...

we find these truths to be self-evident that all men* are created equal.

*land-owning white males-- some restrictions may apply. void where prohibited.

February 07, 2006 4:51 PM  

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