“All Americans are equal but some Americans are more equal than others”–is that to be the national mantra of an Age of Trump?
It’s time to reread George Orwell’s Animal Farm, where “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” is the ultimate perversion of the once-egalitarian philosophy under which the farm animals revolted against their human master.
Trump has known how to exploit our long-standing national problem with “All men are created equal,” the leading and farthest-reaching “self-evident truth” of our Declaration of Independence.
Our democracy began already with deep divisions. In terms of the right to vote and hold office, “all men,” as the US Constitution took effect, turned out to mean not “all people” but, depending on the states, basically “property-owning white males.” Even after all the amendments and court decisions moving toward greater voting rights, states still remain free to disenfranchise certain groups such as people in prison or even released from prison. And we know that the party of Trump, enabled by the Supreme Court, has for years been gerrymandering districts and manipulating voter rolls to chip away at the voting rights of individuals presumed to favor the other party. That effort in itself–along with that other anti-democratic force, the Electoral College–is grounds to reject the results of November 8, 2016.
In terms of financial well-being, “all men are created equal” has been a receding dream for at least a generation, and all Trump’s campaign promises to “bring back” lost jobs will not help. And barring a sudden reversal, recent gains in health care coverage and workers’ rights–which of course assist those Americans who have less–are doomed.
When you look at median household income by race, you see that “some Americans are more equal than others” is not just a class thing but a race thing as well.
No leader can solve these historical problems, but some leaders are more equal to the task than others. And unfortunately, some leaders don’t want to solve them at all.
When a majority of white voters, whatever their economic level, throw their chances to a man who at least claims to be one of the wealthiest in the country, we see a true desperation about attaining any form of equality, even equality of opportunity, in our country.
You can reread Animal Farm to be reminded of the sad fate of that particular revolution. Is there still time to save ours?