We have a great nation, a great history, and ever evolving culture and society, and we inspire many to seek freer lives for themselves, their loved ones, their communities and their countrymen. We aren't perfect, but our constitution allows us to evolve with the times, and the forefathers of our great nation saw that we would need flexibility in order to adapt to the world as its revolutions around the sun brought something new each day. They saw this, and were people ahead of their time by doing so and keeping one foot oriented towards what was coming next always.
We have changed so much. Especially over the last 100 years. We've grown as a nation in leaps and bounds and not all of those changes were without some measure of growing pains for whatever amount of us at the time. We saw technology grow rapidly and accelerate quickly to the point it became a part of our identity, and that has not changed.
We pushed forward with manufacturing, racing to be on top of the world. With this came a new prosperity that helped Americans begin to lift themselves to a new standard of living one community at a time. The American middle class grew was a direct outgrowth of this mechanized shift.
This provided more taxes and the ability to educate our children and to save for retirement. We were able to consume what we wanted, feeding the manufacturing process to become the behemoth we are. It sparked the idea that perhaps we could have a little more, do a little better and made us feel proud to be a part of this strong nation.
Out of all this came many social movements of course. People were working like animals for little pay. Workplace conditions were hazardous in almost every plant, and if you were injured, you were on your own. If you were permanently maimed, "oh well." If you were no longer able to provide for your family and children, "nothing in life is certain." If there were changes that could be made to improve workplace safety, it would come off as more laugh worthy than any stand up comedian's joke to even suggest to an owner making any changes to address it.
In fact it might even come off as an insult. Further, it could be deemed causing trouble and get you fired from your job to speak up about it, or worse. You might be seen as a potential threat and wealthy owners may simply feel it would be better for their steady stream of barrels of cash to send some thugs to deal with you one way or another.
There were deaths from machines, fires, chemicals, fumes and more. Finally people began getting together and saying enough is enough. "We deserve a safe environment to work in at least."
After all, it was the people putting everything they had into their little jobs that enabled the wealthy owners of industry to live the gilded sheltered lives they did, as is the case today. It was a group of women that started the first labor union in America to try and fight for their rights as workers in sweatshops. From there unions grew into one of the most powerful American social movements and helped to lay the groundwork for others fighting for equal rights.
We have seen many movements propel us into new ages and force us to see the world for what it is. The civil rights movement, the women's rights movement, various workers rights movements, gay rights movements, the many movements of the 1960's, 1970's and beyond that lay the groundwork for us to be living in the dynamic, diverse and always interesting melting pot that our nation has become.
There are without a doubt more changes to come. We got a glimpse of some of the things people are fed up with when we witnessed the Tea Party movement and the Occupy Wall Street movement. We also saw how we still have a long way to go, and witnessed the many ways power in our country moves to usurp, crush and overwhelm anything it views as a threat today as it did earlier in our history. This happened, even while pointing the finger at other nation's leaders that are doing the very same thing at the very same time.
But we do enjoy a certain level of freedom that has come via the many struggles we have fought to have better lives and to raise ourselves up from the very inception of this nation. That will never stop.
One thing that in many ways has been slow to come has been the empowerment of women, and really it's time. I have been very critical of the Obama administration's reversing course on the many issues they convinced us to vote for them 2008 under the promise they would come through. But just this week they announced the opening of doors to women serving in combat, and I have to say I wholeheartedly applaud them for that decision.
Women have been dying in firefights all through the Iraq and Afghani wars we've been involved in over the last decade. When under attack, they have picked up their weapons and engaged with dignity and honor for their fellow soldiers regardless of gender, and really for all of us. They have already proven it many times over.
Women make up over 50% of our country, yet they still have a comparatively small role in the decision making that really counts, and that needs to change. We have been ahead in so many respects for so long regarding our place in the world, but when it comes to women in politics there still is a dearth of representation.
It's time. Over the next few decades we really need to see women advance just as men do in this nation. We need to begin looking past gender, and at the same time thinking about the inequality that still exists. Women across the world have shown being a president, prime minister, etc is something they can do just as well as men. In fact, women throughout time have served their nations as leaders as Queens through some of the most trying moments in their nations history. They have have been in leadership positions through hardship and wars, and have ruled just as well as men, when given the chance.
Having president Obama as our nation's leader has proven that race has nothing to do with effective leadership. In fact his wife, Michelle Obama is arguably one of the most accomplished persons to ever serve as first lady in terms of her life prior to becoming a first lady, maybe second only to Hillary Clinton. She may very well go down in history as the best first lady's ever (IMO of course). In fact, I'll go out on a limb and say that we could very well find ourselves better off if over the next 50 presidential elections we select a woman each time. In fact that could be the case if the next 50 presidents were women. Was Margaret Thatcher a weak ruler? Was Golda Meir? Was Indira Gandhi? Is Angela Merkel? There are so many women that have broken the stereotypes and freed themselves from the confines of the boxes society has put them into, that really don't suit their true potential. (http://womenshistory.about.com/od/rulers20th/a/women_heads.htm)
It's time in America to take into consideration the full scope of what we have around us and look beyond things like race, gender, ethnicity, etc when looking at what we would like to see in a president. We've already started the job, let's finish it.
To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com.