#history · America · history · point of view · politics · riff

The 4th of July

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Arthur Szyk (1894-1951). Thomas_Jefferson’s Oath (1951), New Canaan, CT

Who needs civil liberties? The rights of our citizens were hard-won. Freedom did not just emerge from the blood and sweat of the Revolutionary War in documents of federation and constitutional laws. Some Americans had many more years to struggle to see their rights recognized. Many of our privileges evolved in the amendments to our Bill of Rights over the 3 centuries since that war established a United States.

The simple single answer is we all do. Remembering, as always, that with rights come responsibilities.

Sometimes it is not possible to quell the anger, fear and hatred of a policeman who stops a citizen for a tail-light violation. Situations get out of hand. The driver is arrested.

Many of the folks incarcerated have committed only the crime of “driving while black.” Responsible parents in the Afro-American community teach their children how to mitigate the outcomes of this very serious circumstance. It is one which affects the statistic in which 14% of a county’s population are prosecuted or jailed for more than 50% of the crimes committed there.

When 14% of a county’s population in places like Mississippi, for instance, are prosecuted for more than half the crimes committed in that county, it looks like that 14% are the bad seed. Looks can be deceiving. Statistics like these are clearly skewed. They are also deceiving.

 

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