Equality for whom?

  • Published
  • By Capt. Steve Svoboda
  • 934th Equal Opportunity officer
Equality for whom?  The answer of course is 'everyone'!  But words can be cheap.  In real life 'everyone' is a smaller group than we think.  Consider this: equality is like air; you don't think about it until you don't have it.
So who thinks about equality?  Buying houses, looking for jobs, seeking promotion, even standing in line to be served at the deli counter, are people really finding the equality 'everyone' is supposed to have?  Unfortunately the answer is no.       
At its essence equality is how we treat each other.  This is critically important because inequality and all that it breeds thrives on the superficiality of cheap words and futile actions.  A noble principle - equality - takes on a fake persona because the fine words that are spoken in politically correct circles are not backed up with the integrity of practice in the towns and neighborhoods where we live. 
A wise man, a Master Sergeant of Marines, once said, "what I permit I promote."  I cannot - on the one hand - stand for equality for everyone and on the other hand turn a blind eye to the slight given the woman in the hijab ahead of me in the line at the deli counter.  She was there ahead of me; she gets to be served ahead of me.  Racist remarks, sexist attitudes, separatist beliefs, they all work counter to the constitutional principle of ALL being created equal.  The Master Sergeant was right (of course!) that I cannot subscribe to such a principle AND ignore anything that uses unfair bias to divide.  Period. 

This is a constant battle.  And we do not have the luxury of sitting this battle out.  It needs to be engaged where it is found; every day.  Biased attitudes, inflammatory words, unfair actions by any divisive means have no place here.  Period.  Of all the battles our nation fights, the attitudes and biases that give rise to inequality form our most powerful enemy. 

We can do two simple things to make equality for 'everyone' a reality.  First, adopt the strategy to think about equality - before it becomes critical, before it becomes something we miss - like air.  Second, act on the founding principle of all being created equal.  Do this, and the battle shifts as the issue changes - from a liability that we strive to meet, into an asset that we have and can share at will.  Only then will equality for 'everyone' be a reality.