• B. Thomas Marking

Equal Dignity

Updated: Sep 25, 2021

Equal justice and equal opportunity, yes — but begin by granting equal dignity.

The fireworks and store sales are over now, but there was a pall hanging over this last Fourth of July. This was a day when we should have been recalling the bravery of our founding generation who, as President Lincoln said, struggled to bring forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Instead, we were informed by some boisterous promoters of racial strife than anyone who honors Old Glory is a bigot and a hypocrite.

Immediately, my mind revisited Gettysburg, Arlington, and so many other Gardens of Stone, flowered by those who gave their last full measure of devotion that their countrymen (all of them) might enjoy a new birth of Freedom. If the accusations be credible, shall they all have died in vain?

Perhaps it is too soon to ask or answer that question. If I may borrow from the poetry of the Gettysburg Address once more: “It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.”

We Americans have long strived for equal opportunity and for equal justice. Some even seek the goal of equal outcomes. Can these be achieved by imperfect human beings? I am skeptical.

Perhaps a first step would be to grant to each other an equal dignity. Our differing heritages are beyond remaking. Denigrating them in light of present standards is unfair and fruitless. Every age and every life is filled with shining achievements and dismal failures. We should focus on the dignity of the struggle, which cares not where you begin or where you end. This dignity we share in equal measure, and it can be the impetus to finally cross the street and shake some hands. The recognition of equal dignity is an essential quality of the would-be Citizen v2.1.

19 July 2021


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