A More Perfect Union for All
By: Patti Bankson
Have you heard? Thereâ€™s a new Supreme in town and everyone in La-La Landâ€™s wondering whether her singing meets Diana Rossâ€™s high standard! Iâ€™d like to say… â€œJust kidding!â€, but, as silly as it may sound, I canâ€™t… because there probably are people in La-La Land who think thatâ€™s exactly what Iâ€™m talking about.
Of course, those of us living in the real world know that the new Supreme Iâ€™m talking about is Justice Sonia Sotomayor whose first day on the job was Monday, when the Supreme Court started its new term. And, in case youâ€™re wondering, those of us whoâ€™ve seen the YouTube video of her singing know itâ€™s just as well she picked a career in Law, not singing. However, whether that career choice will serve our country and our citizens, as well as itâ€™s serving her, is another question. We already know that she leans more in the direction of who needs an application of TLC rather than an application of the law, but who knows… maybe sheâ€™ll surprise us!
Speaking of surprises…. maybe, one of these days, (soon, I hope!) all the people who point fingers and hurl racism accusations will surprise us and stop engaging in their own (subtle) racism. Although I agree that Sotomayorâ€™s story is another one of those wonderful â€œAmerica, as the Land of Opportunityâ€ stories, it annoys me when statements are made like the one she made Monday: picking up on President Obama â€œhailingâ€ her new position as â€œanother step toward that more perfect union that we all seekâ€, she said, â€…it is this nationâ€™s faith in a more perfect union that allows a Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx to stand here now.â€ Iâ€™m sorry, but I have to ask… arenâ€™t we supposed to be a â€œcolor-race-gender-age-sexual-preference-blindâ€ country? I also have to ask, is there a double standard that exists when it comes to who is allowed to notice someone elseâ€™s color?
I understand that there has been racism and that racism, real and perceived, still looms large over our society. But, now that we have a â€œpost-racialâ€ president, Iâ€™m wondering… when does this longed for â€œpost-racialâ€ period begin, and how does it happen? Does this whole â€œhyphenatedâ€ thing… â€œItalian-American, African-American, Mexican-American… Whatever-Americanâ€… help? Does describing oneself in obvious, â€œIâ€™m different from youâ€ terms, while screaming for a â€œcolor-blindâ€ society help? Are we supposed to treat you differently, because youâ€™re different… or treat you like everyone else, because you are like everyone else? Or, is this, as I suspect, not really about sameness and difference… but about punishment? If so, will there ever be enough punishment meted out to satisfy?
Everyone, including our President and our Congress, needs to remember that our Constitution, and its Preamble, applies to all American Citizens… no American President should ever make a statement that infers that reaping the benefits of our Constitution… or a more perfect union… is just for the down-trodden, or just for those of a certain color; just for those who are successful, or not. Itâ€™s not, and never has been, about deserving more because one has less; nor about deserving less because one has more. It is what it is: an opportunity offered to all our citizens for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
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Â© 2009 Patti Bankson
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