On this day we celebrate the 244th birthday of America. In these times of negativity I would like to focus on a few of the positive ideals that America has put forth in its ‘young’ history that are still not recognized around the world even today.
Within the first 100 years of its existence America fought a four year civil war that resulted in ending slavery and opened the door for multiple amendments to the Constitution. The 13th amendment ended slavery, the 14th amendment granted citizenship to former slaves, and the 15th amendment gave black Americans the right to vote. As hard as it may be to believe, slavery is still practiced in multiple countries around the world in 2020.
Women for thousands of years were treated as second class citizens to men. This changed at the turn of the 20th century when the Women’s Suffrage Movement was in full swing protesting and pushing for the rights of women to be validated and for women to be treated equally. The 19th amendment gave women the right to vote which ended almost a century of protest. As with slavery, women all across the world are still not given the same equality. Simple notions that are taken for granted in this country are not even a possibility in others. Choosing who you marry, getting a divorce, driving a car, or getting a job are not an option for those women.
Lastly, discrimination based on sexual orientation has been a protest in our country since roughly the 1950’s. Acceptance of the LGBT community in America has been on the rise in recent years and we are miles ahead of many other countries in respect to protecting their rights. While we have made strides to bring about equality and inclusivity to the LGBT community, there are over 71 countries where it is illegal to be gay and in many Middle Eastern countries, homosexuality is punishable by death.
We are not a perfect country, nor is any other, but in these past couple hundred years we have found the flaws within mankind and worked together to form a better path where people of every race, sex, and orientation can succeed if he or she has the drive and persistence to do so. I would consider that a form of perfection that no other country has achieved in as short a span as we have.