I spent ten minutes watching a bird build a nest. It flew out of the tree and came back with a twig in its beak. The twig wasn’t tossed into the nest. It was sewed in, like a thread, and the bird wasn’t just building a home. It was weaving one, one that was wrought by its own wings and will to survive. And I thought to myself, the chicks that are hatched in that nest will never know that it was built with sweat, that their mother and father worked together to build this nest in spite of the cats that prowl the neighborhood, the wind that was blowing from the north, and the heat that threatened to strike everything dead. In that, I saw us.
Our America, the America of our ancestors, was built on the foundation of sinew and sweat. It was liberty that had allowed our ancestors to create a country where every man and woman was rewarded for his or her spirit. It was a country where an individual could pull in, inspired, and begin a life. But times have changed.
In effect, the Constitution, when coupled with the Bill of Rights and Amendments 11-18, supply America and Americans with the laws they need. This was done on purpose. In any course of action, an American could look into these documents and ask if what they were doing was legal, lawful, and right. There was a certain amount of trust that was implicit in these documents, trust that Americans would rule their lives as they saw fit, and it wouldn’t be until their way of living interrupted the lives of others that the broad scope of the law would step in. What we have done, over the past centuries, is legislated freedoms out of America.
When our progeny look back into their annals, what they will find are laws that have been created repeatedly. The 18th Amendment effectively did away with slavery, but slavery contradicted the rights listed in the Preamble to the Constitution. The EEO built laws around equality, but again, their creation was redundant. America has done an excellent job of finding what’s wrong, and then making it illegal to do it. I say, however, with these laws, we haven’t truly corrected the inequity seen in America today.
Equality is a sticky wicket. We live in a country today telling us that we must ensure everyone is treated equally. You’re not going to get an argument from me. But, instead of going back to the founding documents that were founded on freedom, we are told we have to include people in certain roles in society based on varied parameters like race, gender, and economic status. It’s against the law to defer. My proposal: schools lead the change. This change needs to be directed at including children in discussions of equality, treating each other by their devotion to the American Ideal, that the reality behind the founding documents was equality, that the ultimate goal of America wasn’t to kowtow to an oppressive government, not by telling Americans what they can and cannot do, but to live our lives as freedom dictates.
It is time for us to build our nests so that our children remember why the nest was built, so that they have a nest for their children. The true legacy of America is hard work, success wrought with our hands so that our children can learn why it is we must work hard. We have become a society of callous-less hands, favoring sitting in a chair and legislating fairness, and not working toward it together.