The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


November 23, 2013

Far from Lincoln’s view of equality

— Leonard Pitts reminded us in his column (Nov. 17) that Abraham Lincoln’s eloquent Gettysburg Address was delivered 150 years ago at the conclusion of the Civil War that threatened to undo our nation, a nation solemnly dedicated to human equality.

Alas, as Pitts declares, our nation has yet to honor that dedication. We remain a nation riddled with multiple forms of divisiveness, subordination, even oppression along many lines: racial, ethnic, sexual, gender, religious.

Cutting across these lines we are a nation that is profoundly divided in economic status, political power, and judicial standing. The miseries of those who are thereby deprived are intolerable.

It is not much of an exaggeration to suggest that we are yet engaged in a kind of civil war, even as we pretend that ours is a government that sustains the grand principle of human rights as the centerpiece of the common good.

Under present circumstances, we need to devise a way to draw on the considerable wealth of the nation to assure that the fundamental needs of all are met.

Given the exasperating stalemate that permeates our governing powers, it is clearly time for those who are deprived to engage in a constant stream of organized actions to give rigorous voice to their grievances and to press for a genuine democracy in which, to paraphrase Article One of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we act towards one another in a spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.

Thankfully, some such actions are already evident throughout the states in various forms, yet, for those who would honor Lincoln’s vision of human equality, the road remains long and the opposing forces are formidable.

Douglas Sturm,


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