The Evolution of Equality

March 11, 2010

In a perfect world, everyone would be equal. At least that’s what my vision of the perfect world would be.

I just read something from one of my favorite email lists, delanceyplace.com, that gave me hope for my perfect world. Equality, it seems, may be evolving.

In a recent email, delanceyplace.com presented an excerpt from The Annotated U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence by Jack N. Rakove. That excerpt describes how the original Constitution contained a version of equality that applied only to white men. But, according to Rakove,

That Constitution, in a sense, nearly died with the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency in 1860 and the ensuing secession crisis of 1861.

The three amendments that came after the Civil War represent an evolution of equality, as did the amendment that allowed women to vote. Consider these amendments the equivalent of standing erect and losing our tails.

As Rakove wrote,

A vision of equality among peoples was giving way to one of equality within a people.

Think Civil Rights Act. Equality within a people. One people. Equal rights.

And the evolution continues. As the GLBT community seeks civil rights, and as black and Muslim Americans seek recognition of their rights, we are evolving toward a more perfect world. If religion can evolve, so can equality.

Here’s to saying goodbye to the appendix and legalizing gay marriage. I like evolution.

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