I often muse about the power of words. How they sometimes reflect exactly what we’re thinking, sometimes not. The most interesting of examples of word usage occur when we use words to convey an actual meaning that we are not even aware of.
That famous phrase “…that all men are created equal…” comes to mind.
Initially, the words were conceived by property-owning caucasian men, some of whom owned slaves. Yet the words and the idea took root in this country. The struggle to merge a few men’s noble thoughts into a nation’s daily life began.
We struggled and continue to struggle because there is a gap between the ideal of equality and the daily experience of equality. The concept is insufficient. Pretty words in elegant script on old paper are not enough.
True equality is experienced in real life. Rights, we have learned, must be written into law, enforced fairly by our public officials, and accepted broadly by our citizens.
We have fought to expand this concept of equality on many fronts: the abolishment of slavery, the right to vote for African Americans and women, and now with the lesbian and gay community. So many groups have had to protest, litigate, and lobby for equal opportunity in the workplace, in education, in housing, in marriage.
As we celebrate a woman’s right to vote, we honor that struggle.
We should know that in any free society these struggles will continue. The biggest danger we face is thinking that we have overcome them all.
Congratulations, ladies, on your right to vote.
I look forward to hearing your voice this November.